With both of his top scorers relegated to the bench for Monday’s Lady Cougar soccer opener at Marion County, coach Rusty Ray had to be wondering where his scoring was going to come from.
Enter Kari Green, a junior exchange student from Trondheim, Norway. Seeing her first action for Grayson County, Green dominated play from the start and popped in nine goals in Grayson County’s 10-0 win over the Lady Knights in Lebanon.
Ray had expected to use Green in the midfield, but with both of his top scorers from last season out of action, juniors Kayden Sutherland and Keisha Dennis, he was forced to move Green into a forward position.
Sutherland was out because of a red card she received in last year’s 12th District final against Meade County. Dennis injured her knee in the team’s final scrimmage game last week at North Hardin. The severity of her injury has yet to be determined, but it could be a season-ending injury.
Green and senior Lauren Bennett quickly formed a formidable connection on the field, with Bennett setting up Green on four of her goals, and Green returning the favor on a Bennett goal near the end of the first half.
The game began with the two teams feeling each other out, playing mainly in the mid-field. But in the eighth minute, Bennett sent a pass into the box which Green took and beat Lady Knight goalie Carrington McKay for the first Lady Cougar goal of the new season.
In the 19th minute, Green took a throw-in near the left sideline, dribbled through three Marion defenders and unleashed a shot which settled into the net to make it 2-0.
In the 35th minute, Bennett took a pass near mid-field, settled the ball and sent a beautiful pass through the middle that split a pair of Marion defenders. Green outraced both Marion defenders to the ball, took one touch ahead, then shot quickly into the right side of the net to make it 3-0.
Less than a minute later, with the Lady Cougars once again pressuring the Marion goal, Green found Bennett breaking toward the goal and hit her with a perfect pass. Bennett was able to get behind the defense and hit a looping shot which found the net to make it 4-0. Green added an unassisted goal with just a couple of minutes left in the first half and Grayson County led 5-0 at the half.
This game also featured the debut of freshman goal keeper, Laura Vincent, for the Lady Cougars. Vincent had played on the wing in the first scrimmage games, but when Haley Stevenson, who had been in goal, left the team, Ray inserted the first-year freshman into goal.
Vincent had a very good first game in the nets, coming up with several good stops. She made just one mistake during the game and it nearly led to a Marion goal six minutes into the second half. Vincent came out of her net trying to get to a ball near the end line, but whiffed. Marion had a wide-open shot at the empty net, but sent it wide. That would be the Lady Knights’ best chance of the day.
Five minutes later, the Bennett-to-Green connection worked again to put Grayson County ahead 6-0. Bennett sent a pass ahead to Green, who brought the ball in on new Marion goalie, Sophia Kroschke, dribbled around her and hit a left-footed shot into the open net.
In the 54th minute, Kroschke had a goal kick go right to Green about 30 yards in front of the Marion goal. With no one in front of her, Green took a couple of touches and sent a shot rocketing right at Kroschke. The Marion keeper got both hands to the ball but it caromed off the block and into the net to make it 7-0.
In the 60th minute, with the Lady Cougars threatening again, Kroschke made a beautiful kick save on a point-blank shot by Green, but when the ball bounced right back to Green, the Norwegian newcomer sent it back into the net to make it 8-0. Kroschke was hurt on the play and had to be replaced.
Green scored again in the 62nd minute, taking a through pass and maneuvering in for the goal that made it 9-0.
Ray was ready to bring a host of subs into the game at that point, but before he could get them into the game, Green scored again on a pass from Bennett to end the game by the mercy rule, 10-0.
The Lady Cougars will be at home on Thursday to host the Lady Raiders of Warren East. Play is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.
Reach Don Brown at 259-9622, ext. 2016.