Danville girls hold off Southwestern in first round of region tournament

Published 4:33 pm Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Danville defeated Southwestern 2-0 in the first round of the 12th Region tournament Monday at Boyle County.

The Admirals scored a goal in each half against a scrappy Southwestern team on a chilly fall night.

But the Admirals weren’t as clinical as they needed to be, according to head coach JD Smith.

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“They’re playing slow, I still think they’re trying to adjust to turf a little bit,” Smith said. “Which they shouldn’t be, but I think they still are a bit.”

The Admirals received a boost when Zoe Gooch — normally a defender — took an attacking role midway through the first half.

“We mixed things up a little bit playing Zoe up top,” Smith said. “She gave us a lift and gave us a lot of good chances, which was the hope.”

Gooch scored the first goal of the game, breaking past the Southwestern defense with speed to score.

It was one of many chances created by the Admirals in the first half, but the only one that the Admirals put away.

“I really think we’ve got to be more efficient offensively,” Smith said. “We can’t generate 10 opportunities and only have one goal. Especially the good opportunities that we were generating. We’ve got to do better with those.”

Southwestern (9-8-2) didn’t create opportunities like Danville, but it wasn’t until 37 minutes had passed in the second half that the Admirals would secure their victory. Jaylin Nash crossed to Abbie Hibbs in the box for a goal to put the game away.

Smith said he’d like to see more from his team — particularly in times of adversity — in Wednesday’s semifinal matchup with Mercer County.

“We need to be more aggressive to the ball in the midfield,” he said. “I think we were holding back at times. And sometimes, I think we’re waiting on other people to do the job. I feel like there’s a lot of times, the girls are waiting on someone else to do the job. I don’t know that there’s one person that is stepping up and saying, ‘I got this guys.’”

Despite those struggles, Smith said his team played well enough to win.

And in the postseason, that’s what matters.

“We’re definitely going to have to play better Wednesday,” Smith said. “We’re going to have to play much quicker. We talked about that at halftime and again after. We’re going to have to limit touches in the middle of the field, pass out of pressure instead of dribble.”

The Admirals visited Mercer County in the regular season and won with a goal in the second half.

“It was a tight one. We’re going to have to speed things up,” Smith said. “We get this idea that we do things on one side of the field and then we get stuck there. We keep going back and we’re not switching fields like we should be. We’ve got to switch the angle of attack more often, especially when things aren’t working down one side.”