Woodford ends Mercer's season

October 22, 2003|JILL ERWIN

The game started more than 45 minutes later than planned, but Woodford County didn't waste any more time.

The No. 16 Yellow Jackets scored two goals in a 16-second span early in the game and didn't look back, knocking Mercer County out of the 14th Region Tournament in a 9-2 victory Tuesday at Boyle County.

Woodford will face Western Hills in the regional championship Thursday. Western Hills beat Boyle County 2-1 on penalty kicks Tuesday, postponing the start of the Mercer-Woodford matchup.

Senior forward Melissa Vaught scored the two early goals for Woodford (15-6-1) on the way to a hat trick. Vaught scored her first goal on a breakaway with 5:56 gone, then followed it 16 seconds later by sending a high shot off the fingertips of Mercer goalkeeper Erin Ashford and into the net.


Mercer took advantage of Woodford's slow defensive start by spending the early majority of the game on the Jackets' end.

"We might have thrown a little surprise into them when we spent the first 10 minutes on their end of the field," Mercer coach Scott Dodson said. "They were able to get a few counterattacks on us, but we played well early.

"I knew from watching them Saturday (against Western Hills) that they didn't have the speed we had."

Woodford had trouble keeping Chelsea Goodman and Chrystal Claunch from getting the ball up top, but the Mercer girls were unable to form any long offensive attacks.

The Jackets beat Western Hills 6-0 in the 27th District Tournament championship, and kept that offense rolling against Mercer.

Woodford got two more goals, one each from Jennifer Butler and Emily Roberts, in a span of 10 minutes to take a 4-0 lead with less than 12 minutes to play in the first half. Dodson pulled Erin Ashford from the goal and put her in the field, replacing her with Kimmie Byrd.

"Before the season, we didn't have a keeper," Dodson said. "Ernie (Ashford) has been our starter all year long, but I felt I needed to pull her out and put her on the offensive end to give us a chance to get some things going. Kimmie did a really good job while she was back there."

Woodford scored twice more, one from Kellie German with 10:41 to play in the first half and then Vaught's third of the night with 9:56 to play.

Goodman finally got Mercer on the board with a header at the 31:04 mark. The Jackets added one more goal, from Andie Wilhoit, in the 34th minute to take a 7-1 lead at the break.

With Woodford leading 8-1, Goodman was tripped in the box and awarded a penalty kick with 7:05 gone in the second half. She kicked the ball right at substitute goalkeeper Kristen Branham, who made the save.

Just over three minutes later, Ashford made the move to the field pay off with a goal to cut the lead to 8-2.

"I hoped I could mix it up up front and get Erica (Lee) some time up there, but we needed her back on defense," Dodson said. "Putting Lindsey (Alford) up front helped us score that second goal."

Woodford scored in the 61st minute, Butler's second, to set the final score.

Mercer started the season 0-5, but then went on to go 9-3-3 after that initial stumble. Dodson said part of that slow start was due to him being a first-year coach and also due to the difficulty of Mercer's schedule.

"I came in and had no clue at the first of the year," Dodson said. "It was my first year coaching and I didn't know them, I didn't know who to play where.After our fourth or fifth loss, I mixed up the lineup and that turned the season around.

"All the credit goes to my girls. They stayed focused and they put their heart in the game and they never gave up."

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