Ashland blanks Midland, 5-0
ASHLAND -- With sloppy conditions, some early sloppy play and the right bounce Tuesday night, Cabell Midland could have been right in the girls' soccer match with Ashland Tuesday night.
However, Ashland's leaders stepped up in the second half, and the Tomcats ended up steamrolling the Knights, 5-0.
Ashland first got on the scoreboard in the 11th minute, when a shot from Charity Collins went through the mitts of Cabell Midland keeper Jess Meade. The ball skirted to the far side of the goal, where all Emma Davis had to do was tap it in.
Meade's night got considerably worse a few minutes later, when she collided with an Ashland player during a corner kick. She had to be carried off the field by her teammates and didn't return. She was replaced by sophomore McKensie Akers.
Ashland controlled the pace of the game, but settled for some bad shots while Cabell Midland struggled to string passes together and get offensive opportunities.
And, the Tomcats nearly let the Knights slip right back into the game.
Just before halftime, Cabell Midland striker Kayley Stephens got behind the Ashland defense with keeper Megan Downey out of position. It was a difficult angle, but Stephens managed to get off a shot that nearly went in but caught the bottom of the crossbar and bounced out for Ashland to clear.
"We didn't finish in the first half," said Ashland head coach E.B. Lowman II. "I think we took 16 shots in the first half and they took one. They hit the crossbar with their one and we got one in the net."
Lowman said he talked with his squad at halftime about making better decisions with the ball and finishing plays.
Still, Cabell Midland was opportunistic and nearly evened the score right out of the gate in the second half, as Angel Harrison found herself open and put a hard shot toward goal that went just wide.
After that, the sophomore Collins and senior Sarah Hudson took control for Ashland, coordinating the team's attack and all but eliminating any counter-charge from the Knights.
"We moved it well, we executed I think very well, and then we started finding the net," Lowman said. "Charity is a very complete player, probably the most complete we have. Sarah Hudson is just strong and aggressive. We played her at outside midfield, and the thing she did that I appreciated is that she didn't just run down the line with the ball. She looked for passes and then looked to get it back."
Hudson got Ashland's next goal, in the 55th minute, on a down the line pass from Collins.
The roles were reversed on the next goal, in the 60th minute, when Hudson sent a cross into the box that found Collins, and Collins hammered a shot past Akers.
Jenna Cook scored unassisted on a long shot from outside the box, and Collins finished the scoring with a free kick that just eluded Akers' outstretched arms.
CABELL MIDLAND 0 0 -- 0
ASHLAND 1 4 -- 5
A - Davis (Collins), 11th minute.
A - Hudson (Collins), 55th minute.
A - Collins (Hudson), 60th minute.
A - Cook, 64th minute.
A - Collins (free kick), 71st minute.
Shots: A 26, CM 2. Saves: A 0 (Megan Downey, Katie Hornbuckle), CM 9 (Meade 3, Akers 6) Corners: A 8, CM 3.