NEW MARKET — After a defensive battle led to a 0-0 tie after regulation and two overtime periods, Southmont and Western Boone girls’ soccer match on Thursday night hung in the balance of the goalies and five players, each getting their shot in a shootout.
Tied 1-1 after four kicks for each team and a Southmont miss, Western Boone senior Anaiha Baxter slipped her shot just under the crossbar and past Mountie goalie Belle Miller to send the Stars home as winners.
Marissa Craig was the only Mountie to make her penalty shot, as three missed high. Miller earned two saves during the shootout in the goal, while Emma Williams notched the first make for Western Boone.
Neither team was able to produce much offense in the first half, and while each team possessed the ball more in the second 40 minutes of regulation, early season fatigue began to set in.
Southmont coach Phil Keller though was overall pleased with his teams’ effort.
“We can’t ask anything more from our players,” he said. “First game, everybody is going to be a little bit underconditioned for that. Everyone ran hard and played hard and we did the best that we can. We did a great job of subbing and trying to keep as many fresh legs on the field as we could.”
Craig, a senior, had a pair of scoring opportunities in the second half, including a missed shot off the crossbar. Offensively, the Mounties knew they’d have a new look this season after graduating leading goal scorer Lexie Odum from their regional final team last season, and the COVID-19 pandemic added extra stress to the transition.
“We are behind as much as everybody else right now,” Keller said. “We weren’t able to get a lot of contact practices in until this past week and half. So everybody is behind on the ball, and everybody is in the same spot, it’s just about how we are able to move forward and continue through the season and get back on track where we need to be.”
The Mounties (0-1, 0-1 SAC) also lost three starting defenders from the 2019 squad, but Keller said the shutout defensively was definitely a bright spot.
“I’m really happy with our defense,” he said. “Three brand new starting defenders, so to have those three playing together for the very first time, we can’t ask for anything more.”
Miller is a returning starter in the goal, and played a clean game to help preserve the shutout.
Southmont returns to the pitch on Tuesday at home against Lebanon.