Despite playing a lackluster game, especially on defense, the Lady Cougar soccer team improved to 7-3 on the season with a 5-2 win at home against visiting McLean County.
The Lady Cougars had shutout McLean (2-8) in Calhoun 3-0 back in August, but this time Grayson County fell behind 1-0 0n a goal in the fifth minute of play when the defense failed to clear a ball in the eight-yard box.
Grayson County got even a few minutes later when junior Kayden Sutherland broke free in the middle and put a ball past McLean goalie Jade Fulkerson to make it 1-1.
The Lady Cougars took the lead for good in the 12th minute of play. Norwegian exchange student, Kari Green, brought the ball in on goal from the right corner and blasted a shot from a low angle right at Fulkerson. The McLean goalie was able to get both hands on the shot and deflected it out in front of the goal.
Sutherland beat a McLean defender to the ball and, with Fulkerson still on the ground at the right of the net, put it into the back of the net to make it 2-1.
The score stayed that way for the next 20 minutes before the Lady Cougars got back on the board. Working the ball in on goal, senior Destiny Heady hit Green with a pass about 20 yards out in front of the McLean goal. Green took a couple of dribbles to her right and let go with a crossing shot that left Fulkerson lying on the ground in frustration as Grayson County went up by two goals, 3-1.
The two-goal lead did not last long, though, as McLean got on the board again with five minutes left in the first half. Maneuvering with the ball at the left of the Lady Cougar goal, junior Taylor Harberson sent a crossing pass to Scott stationed at the far post, and Scott put the ball past Lady Cougar goalie Laura Vincent to make it 3-2.
Grayson County continued to put pressure on the McLean goal in the second half. Green had a hard shot stopped by Fulkerson in the 47th minute of play, then Sutherland put a shot off the left post in the 51st minute. Green tried a chip shot over Fulkerson’s hands in the 56th minute, but the ball sailed over the crossbar.
Grayson County missed an excellent chance in the 63rd minute when Green sent a precise pass to Heady, who was in all alone in on Fulkerson. But Heady’s last touch was just a bit too hard and Fulkerson was able to come out and stop the ball.
Vincent came up with a save on a point-blank McLean shot in the 65th minute. Her goal kick started a Lady Cougar rush which ended with Green scoring the her second goal of the game to make it 4-2 and give her team a little breathing room.
A couple of minutes later the Lady Cougars got on the board again. Green sent a ball to Sutherland, who was open about 10 yards out. Sutherland rocketed a ball which Fulkerson was able to get both hands on, but she could not control the ball and it bounced off her hands and into the net to make it 5-2.
Green has been a welcome addition to the Lady Cougars. With her two goals in this game, Green now has scored 29 goals on the season, good enough to put her second in the state in scoring behind Hart County senior Olivia Nichols, who has scored 38 goals through 10 games.
Reach Don Brown at 259ext. 2016.