Lady Rams soccer takes down Lady Cardinals

By Dale Draughn - For The Tribune

RONDA — The Starmount Lady Rams traveled the short distance from Boonville to Ronda for a Mountain Valley 1A/2A conference rivalry game with the East Wilkes Lady Cardinals. Starmount was able to defend well in the second half to take a 4-2 win over the Cardinals.

“We have things to work on and it is still a work in progress and we are playing Ram Tough soccer and that is what I like about them,” said Starmount head coach Dale Draughn. “They listen, are coach-able, and like playing the game of soccer with each other, and that is half the battle as a coach. We need to fine tune some things and get in a little better shape and we will be fine.”

The Lady Rams jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals in the 29:22 minute from Sierra Casstevens off the assist of Hailey Gomez. At the 12-minute mark of the first half, Maggie Freed scored off the assist of Alyssa Yanez to give the visiting Lady Rams a two-goal lead heading into halftime.

“We had opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net in the first half, but Parks and fullback Christa Burchette kept the East Wilkes net clean from any more goals,” said Draughn. “We had a corner and a shot from the 18 that sailed just wide after hitting the post.”

The Lady Cardinals showed fight and grit, as they scored to cut the Lady Rams lead to 2-1 off an unassisted goal by Shelia Aguilar five minutes into the second half. The Lady Cardinals tied the game off an unassisted goal by Ciara Pierce, and the game would stay tied until the eight-minute mark.

Things started to heat up for the Rams, as Kimberly Catalan scored off the assist of Gomez for a 3-2 lead. Gomez added an insurance goal with 6:15 remaining in the game off a free kick. As time ran out, the Rams were able to hang on to take a 4-2 win over the Cardinals.

“We need someone to step up and be that consistent goal scorer. I told them last night that Molly Maske was that person until her injury, but I told them to look around the huddle and she was not there, but in the stands. I needed someone to step up and I did not care who it was,” said Draughn. “Don’t get me wrong we had four different players score goals last night and I am excited about that. We had several offside calls, but I am fine with that as I have been pushing them to make their runs and anticipate the passes. If they are offside, then so be it, but eventually we are going to get the timing down and score some goals in the process.”

Stephanie Brown was the goal keeper for the Lady Rams, and she recorded 12 saves on 14 shots faced. On the opposite side of the field, East Wilkes’ keeper, Anna Parks, recorded 13 saves while facing 23 shots from the Lady Rams.

“I push them hard in practice and now they just have to implement it in games,” said Draughn. “Last night was just the start and we have to build and build, because each team is going to get better and better as the season goes along.”

The win improves the Lady Rams overall record to 5-1 and their conference record to 3-1, while the loss drops the Lady Cardinals to 3-4 overall and their conference record to 3-2.

By Dale Draughn

For The Tribune