By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
The Princeton Tigers were worried about Shady Spring’s scoring ability on Tuesday. The home team’s scoring took care of itself.
Sparked by a relentless defensive effort, the Princeton girls surged past the other Tigers 12-2 at Everette K. Bailey Field to reach the championship match of Class AAA, Region 3, Section 2 for the third straight year.
Princeton (11-6-2), the top seed in the section, will host second-seeded Woodrow Wilson (10-6-4) on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. for the sectional crown.
Princeton head coach Michelle Dye said, “As soon as we had the kickoff, they came out ready to play. They played as a team tonight. They controlled the game, they possessed the ball real well. I couldn’t be more pleased with how they played.”
The elusive Amanda Barrett started the onslaught in the seventh minute with the first of her four goals, off an assist by Laken Autrey.
By halftime, seniors Tori Billips and Shaylah Walls each had scored twice and Danielle Hall also found the net for an 8-2 lead. Shady Spring (4-9-2) got a pair of goals by senior Lauren Solock, with an assist on the first one from fellow senior Lyndsey Thompson.
Thompson had set a new state career record for goals on Monday with three scores in a first-round tournament win over Oak Hill. She was not able to add to her total of 135.
Dye said, “We were fortunate that we were able to keep Lyndsey marked pretty tight tonight. They have some talented (players). They could definitely be a scoring threat.
“I was worried, coming into the game. How do we shut them down? That was our whole locker room speech: You cannot let them inside the 18, you cannot let Lyndsey shoot. I mean, 130-some goals. She’s dangerous. They did a good job with that.”
Madi Boggess, Hall and Billips took turns facing the record-setter. Dye said, “Between the three of them, they were able to really shut her down.”
Hall said, “I didn’t want her to score anymore.”
Billips said that before the game, “I was nervous because their two strikers are very fast. I had to make sure they didn’t get a shot off early, and make sure that we were able to shut them off quick.”
“We just played the best we could, marked up (and) talked.”
In a span of slightly more than three minutes in the second half, Barrett, Boggess and Sarah Cole scored for an 11-2 lead.
The final marker came from Meredith Putorek, Princeton’s starting goalkeeper. Placed at forward late in the game, she drove the front third of the pitch and dribbled a shot across the goal line with 2:21 left.
Three Shady Spring goalkeepers tried to take the place of usual starter Brooklyn Meador, who was injured.
Shady Spring head coach Rachel Kincaid said, “Our goalie was out, so we had to make some changes. We were just really trying to focus on defense — and we definitely struggled with the defense.”
Princeton netted 12 goals on 20 shots on goal. Shady Spring had nine shots on the night, four on goal.
Kincaid said, “Princeton’s a good team. If you’re going to lose, it’s good to lose to the best team in the section.”
— Contact Tom Bone at