After a difficult road schedule to begin the season, the Washington girls’ soccer team has found a nice rhythm playing in front of its home crowd.
The Hatchets (3-3-1, 1-0 Big 8) won its second straight home game at the Sports Complex and the first conference game of the season with an 11-0 victory over Vincennes Lincoln Tuesday evening. The Washington offense was paced Lupe Perez’s four goal night and sophomore Emily Mahan’s three goals.
Mahan got the Hatchets off to a quick start with a goal in the 8th minute to give Washington a 1-0 lead, and less than five minutes later Perez scored her first goal of the night to push the lead to 2-0.
Perez added another goal; Mahan added two more to pace a dynamic offensive attack which gave Washington a 7-0 halftime lead. Shylah Sama and Shawna Webb also added goals in the first half.
“Those two (Mahan and Perez) are attack-minded players,” said Washington first year-coach Stacy Bryant. “One of the things we wanted to focus on tonight was not only to start fast, but to be hard one defense, because every team that we have played we have come out sluggish for the first 10-15 minutes. That seems to be a character trait of ours that we want to break. I saw some things out there that I liked against a team in Vincennes Lincoln that is a Big 8 opponent. I was pleased how we started.”
It didn’t get any better for the Alices in the second half as Perez scored two more goals and sophomore Kaitlyn Dant and freshman Mary Barnard added goals to give the Hatchets the 11-goal victory.
After having to travel to Castle and Evansville Memorial to start the season, the Hatchets found themselves with an 0-2 record. Washington responded by winning its home opener last Wednesday over Evansville Mater Dei, and the Hatchets finished with a 1-1-1 mark in the three matches at the Hoosier Cup in Bloomington this past weekend.
“We came right out of the gate into a gauntlet,” Bryant said. “This game came at a good time for us — Vincennes Lincoln is a local team that is familiar to us and we needed this game. I told the girls this is the Big 8, we have to come out strong, and one of the things we want to do is restore order in the Big 8 and in soccer that means it’s ours. I said it starts right here tonight and one loss means you’re not Big 8 champions.”
Tuesday’s dominant victory gives the Hatchets the same number of wins and losses for the first time this season. Washington will travel Thursday to take on a talented Heritage Hills squad to try and keep up the level of play they have displayed recently with a 3-1-1 mark in the last five matches.
“Every week we tweak on something and one thing I’m focused on now is scoring,” Bryant said. “The saying is ‘defense wins championships’, it’s a nice cute slogan, but for me it’s the most well-rounded team that has all the strengths. When you’re scoring, you’re taking pressure off your defense and when your defense can shut them down you’re taking pressure off your offense.”