Mercer County moves to semifinals after 3-0 win

Published 4:32 pm Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Mercer County took down Somerset with a solid 3-0 victory Monday at Boyle County.

The Titans played selflessly, particularly in the second half, according to coach Josh Culver.

“The first half, we’ve got in this tendency to just play direct and go straight to goal, instead of settling down and playing fundamental soccer where we pass and move and open up, everybody getting involved,” Culver said. “That’s what we talked about at halftime, settling down and playing the way we can play. In the second half, it showed. We had it more in the offensive end.”

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Bella Garrett scored the first goal of the game, less than 10 minutes after the opening kickoff.

That’s all the Titans would have in the first half — but the defense stayed sound.

“Defensively, we’ve got a great back line and they work well together,” Culver said. “They’re very tough. I feel confident with our back line. They’ve done a great job, it starts with the back line and it works up from there.”

After Culver’s halftime team talk, players started playing more for each other.

“First half, I feel like we played a lot of individual play,” Culver said. “We didn’t really play for one another. Second half, we turned that around. Everybody was getting involved. It’s hard to say one player because we’ve stressed teamwork. If we’ve got one person doing all the work, you don’t have anything.”

The Titans’ next two goals came on two corner kicks — the first, scored by Alyssa Howard, came just four minutes into the second half. The second was a header by Abby Rogers straight from the corner.

“Abby Rodgers scored on a corner. We’ve struggled on corners this year and we scored two in a row back to back, that was big for us,” Culver said.

Culver noted Howard and Lily Rogers as two players who owned the midfield in the win.

“Lily and Alyssa did a great job controlling the ball in the middle and playing defense in the middle, winning 50/50 balls,” he said.

In attack, Culver said Abby Dean and Garrett paired well together and teammate Hailey Lawson stepped in and performed.

“I thought Abby Dean and Bella were good together with their combinations,” Culver said. “Haley Lawson came in and gave us some good time. Jasa (Connelly)did great on the wing, defense was solid. They got up and got involved, Aubrey Jones and Lyzzi (Prigmore) got into the attack.”

The Titans will take on Danville in the region semifinals tomorrow. Danville won the only other matchup between the two teams this year, a 1-0 victory. It was the first game of the year for Mercer County.

“Anything can happen in region play,” Culver said. “Soccer is a crazy sport. You never know what can happen.”