By Denis House For the Times-Tribune
LONDON—After a sluggish first half, the South Laurel Cardinals exploded for four goals in the second to down visiting Whitley County, 5-1.
All five goals were scored by different players as the Cardinals improved to 1-1 overall and 1-1 in district play. Whitley County falls to 0-2 and 0-1.
The Colonels were the aggressor in the first half, dominating the run of play and possession but could only muster one goal with 13 minutes left in the first half on a penalty kick. Hunter Keltner converted from the spot to make it 1-1 at the half. Despite being outplayed, South did score first when Jacob Hubbuch was in the right spot at the right time when a loose ball in front of the Whitley goal fell to his feet, and he calmly slotted it home.
“We looked awful in the first half,” South Laurel coach Amber Hensley said. “At halftime I said to the team ‘what are you doing wrong?’ and they said ‘everything.’ That was the correct answer. We just didn’t possess the ball in the first half.”
The second half was a different story.
South took a 2-1 lead when Whitley was called for a trip in the box to give the Cardinals a penalty kick. Hunter House converted for South Laurel.
Whitley’s best chance came with 25 minutes left in the game when a shot by Austin Cole skimmed off the crossbar and away from danger.
Five minutes later, Rivers Atkins crossed the ball to Matt Collins, who scored his first varsity goal to make it 3-1. Then with 18 minutes left, Ben Tonkel’s shot was saved but the Whitley keeper couldn’t hold on to the ball. Jasper Bowling was there to touch it in for his first varsity goal. Tonkel rounded out the scoring with less than two minutes left to make the final 5-1.
“Jasper and Matt really stepped up,” Hensley said. “I’m having to use Matt and Logan Watkins on defense because I lost all my defense from last year. They are playing out of position but that will make them better soccer players. This was a big win; we didn’t want to start 0-2 in the district.”
South Laurel will host Letcher County Central Saturday, while Whitley County will take on Corbin on Aug. 29.