Hot start propels Veterans girls to easy win
Victoria Moore had a pretty dull few hours.
The Veterans goalie almost could have brought a chair and done some studying in between glances of watching her teammates control things from the start en route to a 9-1 win Tuesday over Rome in a GHSA Class 5A girls soccer second round playoff game at Freedom Field.
Moore, a junior, had little to deal with for the first half until Nyanni Ward earned a yellow card for plowing into Marianne Delgado near the Veterans goal.
Alli Gaither then scored on the short free kick to make it 4-1 with 25 seconds left in the first half. And the Wolves did force Moore to pay more attention in the second half with many more looks, although none terribly threatening, with Moore getting three easy saves.
The Warhawks got three first-half goals from Maranda Krirat and one from Anna Luque.
Veterans got two good shots early in the second half and were denied, and the Warhawks kept the pressure on. That finally paid off at the 34:55 mark on Brenley Townsend’s goal, which was followed less than five minutes later by Danielle Coumbs’ penalty kick for a 6-1 lead.
Coumbs added a short goal and then got one in over the goalie as the lead grew to 8-1 midway through the second half.
Sage Samelli took a nice pass from Coumbs and drilled in the Warhawks’ ninth goal with 5:36 left.
Three who mattered
Coumbs: The sophomore had three goals and a late assist.
Krirat: Another sophomore, she got the Warhawks going with two goals in the first 6:27.
Rolling along: Veterans’ girls won their 16th straight. Their only loss was on Feb. 11, 4-1 to Etowah. The Warhawks are ranked third in Class 5A in the Eurosport poll, one spot behind next-round opponent Buford. It was the Warhawks’ 15th win by five goals or more.
They said it
Veterans head coach Haley Walker on the scouting report: “We honestly kind of went in blind. We didn’t really know much about Rome, we didn’t hear much about Rome. We just said (to) do what we do: play, put some things together.”
Coumbs on being ready: “We didn’t have any film on them or anything. But we looked at their stats and came out prepared.”
Walker on the team strengths playing a normal role: “Our attack is amazing. We move the ball really well in our attacking third, crosses, runs from Maranda and Janeyce Brown. Brenley has been amazing for us.”
Walker on the Etowah loss still impacting: “We still reference Etowah a lot. We go back to that game. We replay it.”
Coumbs on not know much about opponents this season: “We were in a new region this year, so it was all new to us. It was an exciting season.”
Walker on that help early on with some yellow cards called: “I told the team, ‘We’re not hitting replay. We’re going to keep our heads, we’re going to beat (Rome) on the skill board.’ That’s what we did.”
Coumbs on the team’s performance: “I thought we played really good. We connected. We still have things to work on, but we played good.”
Rome made a pair of first-half goals 15 minutes apart hold up to nip Veterans 2-1 in the boys game.
The Wolves scored with 22:15 and 7:31 left in the first half and kept the Warhawks from getting many clear looks at the goal. Veterans’ Michael Sordillo scored in traffic of an assist by DeAngelo Howell with 14 seconds left, and Rome easily ran out the clock.
“They were real fast, real fast,” Veterans head coach Matt Roth said. “Very, very sound technically. I feel like that was the difference was. Their technical ability was just playing tricks on us and we couldn’t seem to get the ball out in front of our feet fast enough.”
The vast majority of the game was played in the middle of the field, but Rome did possess the ball more. The Warhawks had stretches of good offense, but couldn’t find a groove.
“We were both chasing, and you don’t get a groove for the game,” Roth said. “You’re always playing full speed ahead or full speed back. That’s not good for any team, but they just matched it better than we did.”
In the first round, Veterans beat another technical team with some speed, Fayette County by a 4-0 score.
“(Rome’s) finishing was much better,” said Roth, whose 15-5 team returns most of its players in 2018. “Every chance we took was a good shot, a good shot on target.”
Veterans’ girls will play Buford, a 10-0 winner over Locust Grove, at 6 p.m. on Friday at Freedom Field. The Warhawks won the coin toss late Tuesday night.