Newkirk, Gray goals lead Peebles to victory –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
It was two girls’ soccer teams from Adams County taking the “pitch” on Friday, Sept. 29 as the Lady Indians from Peebles played host to the West Union Lady Dragons in Southern Hills Athletic Conference play. The contest was a tight one as expected between two young squads and in the end the home team prevailed, getting one goal in each half to claim the 2-0 victory.
According to West Union head coach Kevin Hunter, the Lady Dragons were playing a little shorthanded on Friday, missing some starters that had them down to just 12 available players for the game. The West Union girls till put up a battle, only to be blanked by the Lady Indians and goalkeeper Harley Griffith.
Just over three minutes into the game, the Peebles girls got their first goal, when a pass from freshman Lilly Gray found its way in front of the net, where teammate Jessica Newkirk was able to punch it past West Union goalie Caitlyn Cooper for her first goal of the season and for the 1-0 advantage.
That was it for the first half as the game turned into a defensive struggle. The closest thing to another score came just under the six minute mark when Cooper made a nice save on a shot by Gray where the freshman was trying to get the angle and the two sides went to the intermission with Peebles still nursing a slim one-goal lead.
Because of the fact that darkness now come a bit earlier and there still was a boys game to play, the second half of the girls contest was shortened to 30 minutes. Two minutes into that time, the Peebles lead doubled, thanks to some outstanding work by the freshman Gray, who already had broken the single season goal record for the Lady Indians. This time she brought the ball in her possession down the left side of the field, dribbled past West Union defenders to the center of the field and then drilled a blast from about 15 yards out that found the top of the net and made it 2-0 Peebles.
The defenses again took control for the remainder of the game, with the Lady Dragons getting their best chance to score at the 16:55 mark with a corner kick that the Peebles defenders managed to clear. The Lady Indians came very close to a third goal when a corner kick on their end was headed towards the goal by Kierra Stone, but just went a little too high.
No one else made a serious threat on either keeper for the remainder of the time on the clock and it ran out with the Lady Indians owners of a shutout win over their county rival.
“We played a much more defensive game to get the shutout and to prepare for the tournament.” said Peebles head coach Gus Denzik. “West Union played a very strong game holding us to two goals after we scored seven against them earlier in the season. We are 6 and 6 with four regular season games left and we certainly expect to be 10-6, but will focus on one game at a time.”