By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
SOUTH LAUREL — South Laurel coach Todd White didn’t need to use a pre-game speech to pump up his Lady Cardinal soccer team.
His players never forgot last season’s 5-3 loss to Letcher Central in the 16th Region championship game and they used it as motivation going into Monday’s Sweet Sixteen first round game against the Lady Cougars.
It didn’t take long for White’s squad to assert themselves as the better team, as Karli Parker scored six goals to lead South Laurel to a convincing 11-1 win along with a berth into the Elite Eight.
“Our girls just stepped up to the challenge tonight,” White said. “Believe me, it was fresh on every one of our girls’ minds what happened in the 16th Region championship game and we wanted to erase that bad memory and we did that tonight.”
It didn’t take long for the Lady Cardinals to get on the scoreboard, as Kristen White gave her team a 1-0 edge just a minute in after Letcher Central’s keeper punched her corner kick in.
Mariah House got into the scoring column during the fifth minute after an assist by Hayley House, as the Lady Cardinals’ lead grew to 2-0.
Ten minutes later, Hayley House increased her team’s lead to 3-0 thanks to an assist by Parker and that’s when Parker took over.
She added goals during the 22nd and 32nd minutes to give South Laurel a commanding 5-0 lead, but the Lady Cougars cut their deficit to 5-1 during the 33rd minute, as Carlie Combs scored on a free kick from 25-yards out.
But just when it seemed that Letcher Central had stifled the Lady Cardinals’ momentum, Parker came up with two more goals during the 35th and 37th minutes while giving them a commanding 7-1 lead at halftime.
“After they scored their goal on a free kick, I told the ladies that this wasn’t going to happen again and they kept the gas on,” White said. “The first half we didn’t possess the way we wanted to do, but we did a better job in the second half.”
It didn’t take long for South Laurel to wrap-up the win in the second half, as Haley House scored on an assist by Kayla Cornett while Logan Joyce added a goal and Parker scored two more to end the game at the 57th minute.
“We just kept pushing,” White said. ”We just really kept possession and put the game away. We won all of the 50-50 balls and great things were happening. Things were just high-octane in the second half.”