Jill Vansell’s first career hat trick and a pair of first-half goals by Jessica Coble helped Smith-Cotton beat Clinton 7-0 in a West Central Conference girls soccer game Monday at Susie Ditzfeld Field.
In a game where Smith-Cotton dominated time of possession throughout, the Lady Tigers outshot Clinton 28-2 in the first half and 12-6 in the second with a 22-3 edge in shots on goal and a 4-0 edge in corner kicks.
“We came out with the mindset of we wanted to control the clock from the get-go and possess the ball and hold the ball and pin them in as much as we could,” said Smith-Cotton coach Adam Murray. “I think we were able to do that with high pressure and getting our backs staying tight and marking.”
Often if a Clinton defender put a stop to a Smith-Cotton run, the Lady Tigers tackled the ball back and set up another scoring chance.
“The more you pressure them, the more they have to make quick decision and usually some of them are bad,” Vansell said. “It just worked out really well.”
In its three games this season, the team has scored 14 goals, all by freshmen and sophomores.
“We work together really well,” Coble said. “Some of us have been playing together since we were seven. We just click together. It’s good to be back with my team.”
When Clinton did get the ball through, often the Smith-Cotton defense got back in time to prevent a shot and sweep the ball away.
“(Our backs) were stepping up and playing high pressure, and when you do that, occasionally they’re going to get in,” Murray said. “I think they did a good job recovering. It’s part of playing defense, they’ve got to get back and I thought they did a good job of cleaning up.”
Most Clinton possessions were stopped by the Smith-Cotton midfield, often tackling the ball away and turning with it to create more chances for the Lady Tigers’ forwards.
“The midfield I thought was very active and did a good job,” Murray said. “The midfielder’s role is to get forward into the attack and also get back. We wanted them to be active and high-paced, a lot of energy in the middle and I thought we got that all game.”
“They did a lot of good things,” Vansell said. “They looked up and just played as I ran diagonally. They gave it to my feet every time, perfectly.”
Vansell scored her first in the 10th minute, taking a pass and dribbling into the penalty area to put Smith-Cotton on the board.
“Alexia Goodson sent a perfect through-ball, and I just cut around the girl and aimed for the corner,” she said.
Her second came in the 17th minute to make it 3-0 with Coble assisting.
“I saw her open and I know she was a lot faster than the other girl, so I sent it to her so she could run onto it,” Coble said.
Vansell had to wait until the 60th minute to get her third, set up by a pass from Maddie Davidson.
Coble’s first came in the 14th minute when she dodged around a Clinton defender and got off a clean strike on goal. Her second came in the 27th minute, as she chipped a shot over the keeper to make it 4-0.
Brianna Pollitt made the score 5-0 early in the second half when she scored with the right foot just outside the penalty area. Kristen Farrell added the final goal on a penalty in the 74th minute following a Clinton hand ball.
The Lady Tigers (2-1, 2-1 WCC) will visit Battle today before returning home to host KC Center on Friday.
Smith-Cotton won the junior varsity game 2-0.