Foard soccer routs Newton-Conover 9-0

Michael Christopher
Sports Editor

Heading into Monday's non-conference game Fred T. Foard head girls soccer coach Stan Elliott wanted his team to stay focused.
The Tigers did just that, drubbing Catawba County rival Newton-Conover with a 9-0 home victory.
"Right now is that part of the year where teams tend to lose focus but obviously our girls came out focused tonight and had something to prove tonight. Just glad to come out and get a win," Elliott said. "Tons of respect for Newton-Conover. I love Angelo (Palozzi) over there he's a great coach. He does a good job with his girls. We just came out on fire tonight."
Elliott wants his players to follow the old adage of one game at a time. The Tigers currently sit in second place in the Northwestern Foothill 2A conference with a 6-1 mark.
"We know where we stand. The girls know exactly where we stand. It's up on our board," he said. "We know what's at stake and we said tonight's the most important game of the year. And (Tuesday) will be the most important game against Bunker Hill. We treat every game one game at a time and look forward to the next one after that."
Meanwhile, the Red Devils fall to 4-6 overall with the loss. They have lost three straight and currently sit in third in the South Fork 2A standings.
Newton-Conover was without two key players in sophomore defender Sara Watkins, who sat out with a concussion, and freshman Yesenia Tapia who is out with an injury to her right leg.
Foard senior Corby Bailey and junior Abby Walker each scored two goals while senior Alexis Callahan contributed two assists to lead the Tigers.
"I think that we just did a good job at playing at a high level," Bailey said. "We didn't play down at all and we just played our game and tried to get it over fast."
The first goal was scored in 36 seconds as Bailey netted a goal with an assist from Callahan.
" We're definitely communicating better and our bench players came out and still kept that intensity up with our whole team," Callahan said.
Walker made it a 2-0 score later following an assist from junior Charity Crutchfield and the Tigers opened a three-goal lead once junior Katie Tice scored an unassisted goal less than seven minutes into the game.
Crutchfield converted a penalty kick at the 25-minute mark of the first half to build a 4-0 advantage.
Walker found the net for the second time with less than 17 minutes before halftime after an assist from Bailey to go up 5-0. Bailey also scored her second goal of the game with less than six minutes left before the first half break. junior Camryn Ekonomon netted the seventh Foard goal with an assist from Tice.
"We definitely completed our passes and knew that we wanted to get the ball forward and work all together up and down the field as a unit," Tice said. "And that really helped us get all the goals we needed.
Michelle Thao helped Foard put away the game in the second half. Thao scored less than four minutes into the second half with an assist from Callahan. Then she assisted sophomore Abigail Mathews on the mercy-deciding goal to complete the nine-goal victory.
"The combination play was working really well tonight," the Tigers coach said. "Girls were just looking for each other and that's unselfish soccer and a sign of a good team, which I think we've got going for us right now."
Senior Erin Robinson earned the shutout in goal for the Tigers.
The Red Devils had limited opportunities, putting up four shot attempts. Newton-Conover also had limited possession and played defensively most of the night.