By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
TAZEWELL, Va. —
One team had not been outside in more than a week and the other was playing its first match of the season as the Tazewell Lady Bulldogs hosted the Graham G-Girls in a non-district soccer match Wednesday evening at Bulldog Stadium.
After 80 minutes of play the G-Girls improved to 4-0 on the season, while the Lady Dogs fell in their season opener.
“We’re still trying to figure out what kind of team we are going to be this year,” said Graham head coach Hank Furry. “We’re trying to find out between offense and defense, but one thing we are going to do is attack, attack.
“We are going to be very aggressive, getting in the passing lanes and overall our theme is, ‘If we are the first to the ball, then we get to make first choice on what we do with it.’ We keep pressuring the girls to think that way.”
The G-Girls came out the aggressor with two shots on goal in the game’s first two minutes. Graham scored the first goal of the game in the 18th minute when Whitney Browning made the shot from just in front of the net on an assist from Morgan Whisman.
Graham made it 2-0 on a goal from Jessi Lewis in the 22nd minute and then in the 35th minute Lewis passed to Chelsey Minton and the G-Girls carried a 3-0 lead into the intermission.
Graham dominated the first 40 minutes as they had 13 shots on goal and three corner kicks, while Tazewell failed to have a shot on goal. Lady Dogs’ goalkeeper Kate Snapp was a bright spot as she had six saves before the break.
Tazewell emerged from halftime energized and more aggressive, getting their first shots on goal in the game.
“This was our first game,” said Tazewell head coach Jeremy Call. “It took us about a half or so to get adjusted. We came out at half time, made some adjustments and I was very pleased with how we came out and hustled.”
It was Graham, however, that again got on the board as Lewis fed Liz Workman for a goal to make it 4-0. Tazewell nearly got on the board on a free kick by Haley Christian, but it banged off the post.
Workman made it 5-0 with a goal from about 20 yards out, right of goal. Tazewell broke through in the 23rd minute when Taylor Catron scored on a breakaway, making the score 5-1.
“Taylor is a tough, tough girls and she works and presses,” Call said. “We were able to push the ball up and she was right there, at the right place at the right time and she finished for us.”
The game’s final score came in the 29th minute when Torri Bradshaw passed to Minton, who found the back of the net to make it 6-1.
Snapp finished the game with nine saves in goal for Tazewell.
“She’s a good kid, work hard always, a team leader and she played very hard for us today,” Call said.
Both teams have been hampered by the weather, Tazewell just playing its first game and Graham having an extended break after playing its first three matches.
“We’ve been battling the elements, definitely, and it’s hard to get out and practice on a field when the field is underwater, or the snow is pouring down,” Call said. “We’ve been trying to run, just basically working on fundamentals and trying to get ready for tonight’s (Wednesday’s) game.”
Furry said, “Yesterday (Tuesday) was the first day we had been outside in seven or eight days. We had played three games and up until that we had only been outside four, or five times...then the weather came in and then we had Easter break, so it’s kind of like yesterday (Tuesday) was the first practice and today (Wednesday) was the first game. I said we just have to start the season all over again and try to get back to where we were.
“It’s one of those things where weather hasn’t been kind to us, like anybody else, and so we’ve got to rededicate ourselves to getting ourselves back ready for the season.”
Both teams next face Abingdon. Graham travels to Abingdon on Friday, while Tazewell visits the Falcons a week later, on April 12.
— Contact Bob Redd at email@example.com