Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

April 29, 2014

G-Girls boot past ‘Dogs

EAST RIVER — Hats off to the Graham G-Girls.

The future looks bright for the Graham girls soccer team. The present isn’t bad either.

Senior Morgan Whisman and freshman Caroline Wilkinson each recorded hat tricks with three goals apiece, and the G-Girls defeated Tazewell on a windy, cold Tuesday evening at East River Soccer Complex.

“It has been an incredible season,” Graham girls soccer coach Hank Furry said. “Yesterday I was in short sleeves and shorts out here with East River youth soccer and today I have got three layers on.”

Three was the key number for Whisman and Wilkinson, who scored three goals and dished out one assist apiece. Freshman Caroline Kammer also added a goal off an assist from Chelsey Minton for Graham (5-2-1), which rebounded from a 5-0 loss to state runner-up Radford last week.

“We have got to start playing. We got a great wakeup call when Radford beat us the other night 5-0 and they finished second in the state last year,” Furry said. “We got an opportunity for our young girls, we start a lot of freshmen, and we had an opportunity to see what a state competition team looks like.”

Graham rebounded just fine, taking a 3-0 lead in the opening half, and adding four more goals after the break.

“That is what we have built on yesterday at practice and what we talked about after the game was we needed to see how much better we have to become,” Furry said. “That was our incentive. We have been kind of kicking and smashing the ball and not really trying to pass, and tonight we really made a concerted effort to make passes and to string things together.”

Tazewell (3-5), which has been hampered all season by injuries, finally scored on a free kick by Haley Christian to trim the margin to 4-1 with 24:26 left in the second half.

That was the only goal allowed by Graham keeper Christina Monsure, who didn’t get a lot of chances thanks to the G-Girls’ defense.

“I think we played well as a whole, Graham is just tough, they are perennially in and out, they never seem to have a down year, and with all due respect to them, I think we played a pretty good ball game,” Tazewell head coach Jeremy Ball said. “They got some good shots on distance, the Whisman girl, she is tough, we had a couple of good shots on frame, Haley put a goal in for us with a free kick.

“We are coming along, we are playing well as a team and I am proud of that.”

Whisman put Graham up 12 minutes in by kicking the ball past Tazewell goalkeeper Ashlin Branch off an assist by Wilkinson.

“It is great because Morgan is beginning to assert her role of making the freshmen move to where they need to move and putting themselves in better position to move,” Furry said.

Graham, which has nine freshman and no juniors among its roster of 17, saw its future shine bright later in the half, with Kammer scoring in front of the net off assist by Minton, and Wilkinson following later with a rebound shot for a 3-0 halftime lead.

“Caroline Wilkinson is going to be a great scorer here for Graham, plus the utility of being able to take Caroline Kammer and play her anywhere from an offensive standpoint is absolutely huge too,” Furry said. “She played forward today, we started out in a 4-4-2 and went to a 4-3-3 and she ended up finishing the game at outside right mid.

“We had her at right outside forward where she had some great crosses so that utility player that we preach and teach here, she has really accepted that role and that is huge for us.”

Ten minutes into the second half, another rebound shot by Wilkinson moved the lead to 4-0 before Christian narrowed the margin to 3 on what was a typical chilly evening at East River.

Most of the Bulldogs saw action in the game, with Chynna Davis, Kaley Holloway, Kohan Hilton and Haley Clifton among those contributing for Ball.

“We were playing for the size of the field and the girls, but this weather is crazy in April,” said Ball, whose Bulldogs will host Lebanon on Friday. “You never know this time of year, that is the way it has been, we have had a rough spring weather-wise.

“I think they played well, we have just been riddled with injuries this year. We got one girl back that got hurt in a preseason game, Erica Whited, this is the first game she has played with us this year. We have got a couple of girls with banged up ankles.”

Graham added three more goals, two by Whisman and one from  Wilkinson, who was the beneficiary of an assist by Whisman.

Defensively, Alysia Leung, Kelsey Gibberson, Maddie Morgan and Sondra Thorson were among many G-Girls who kept the Bulldogs from getting many shots on goal.

Furry’s squad can expect a thorough practice session today, with Galax visiting East River on Thursday.

 “We have got to start playing now because we don’t want to be playing three or four games in a week,” said Furry, whose G-Girls have had five games postponed by weather. “We would like to have some time in between so that we can work and go back and make some adjustments.  

“We have Galax coming in here Thursday, but we will take what we did today. I made a lot of notes and we will go back and make adjustments and continue to critique ourselves about our team.”

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