COVINGTON - The Lady Seminoles registered their third mercy-rule game with an 11-1 win over Clarke Central in the late game on Thursday.
The Salem boys on the other hand played tough but were unable to overcome their learning curve in their 2-1 loss.
Clarke Central 1
The Lady Seminoles started the game on the attack, keeping Clarke Central on the defensive early in the match.
The few times the Lady Gladiators put the ball into Salem territory they could not keep control of it long enough to push the ball near the goal.
However, all this changed when Clarke Central's Helene Somda outran the Salem defenders to score the first goal of the contest at the 29:48 mark.
"It was a pretty big shock. We were not expecting that; we did not start off like we should have. I don't think we anticipate speed a lot of times. We assume that everyone is going to be slower than we are because of how fast most of our girls are," Salem coach Heather Cheek said. "That was what shocked us back into our normal play."
Less then a minute later, 28:46, Salem tied the game on a Jordan Young goal off a Shelby Boggus assist.
The next two goals, scored by Taylor Gates and Karlie McCallum, were off Brittany Beaumont corner kicks.
Beaumont assisted on four goals with three of them coming from the corner.
"That's awesome. That's something that we've been trying to work on," Cheek said. "She's a very unselfish player. She's always spreading the ball around."
The Lady Seminoles took a 7-1 lead scoring four times in the final 15 minutes of the first half.
Ashley Miller had two goals with Beaumont and Courtney Hodges putting the other two into the back of the net.
Salem took a 9-1 lead after the first 10 minutes with a goals by Young and Boggus.
Beaumont got her fourth assist, third on a corner kick, when Hodges put the Lady Seminoles one goal from ending the game with 17:02 remaining.
With 13:06 left in the game, Miller put the final blow to the Lady Gladiators, hitting Cedar Shoals' Connelly Crowe on the leg and deflecting the ball past keeper Lia Ellis for the goal.
Boggus and Young had two assists each with Taylor and Emily Boggus having one.
Clarke Central 2, Salem 1
While the wet field hampered both teams, the Salem boys had a harder time adjusting.
The Seminoles' passes in the first half appeared to be long and slow allowing the Gladiators to take control of the ball eliminating the threat.
"It was tough to pass, the other team had trouble controlling it as well. We tried practicing in the rain (Wednesday) to prepare for it. But it's something we're not used to," Salem coach Kurt Peters said.
Also hampering Salem's attempts to keep Clarke Central from moving the ball toward the goal was their inexperienced backfield.
"Our backs are new. This is their first full game," Peters said. "We're still learning how to play."
Salem's lack of proficiency showed when Salem keeper Trent Carpenter ran to get the ball, leaving the net unattended.
That was when Braxton Hudson passed the ball to Adane Ayalaw who shot into an open net.
Salem was able to take advantage of the wet field when Kenny Wizzard's kick spun and skidded under Gladiators keeper Noah Welch's hands in the 56th minute.
As the game progressed, the Seminoles began playing with more confidence and more aggression attacking Clarke Central rather then allowing them to control the ball.
"I think we just took it up a level in focus and came out at halftime with a lot of spirit. It kind of put them back on their heels, it really helped us out," Peters said. "It was a really good effort."
That aggression came back to bite them, as Adam Erickson scored the winning goal with 13:20 left on an indirect kick resulting from a penalty just outside the box.
Salem tried to send the game into overtime but could not get past the Gladiators defense.
"We kept fighting and fighting. We fought to the very end," Peters said. "That's all you could ask for. I think we kept our heads and kept on going."
Manny Fils can be reached at email@example.com.