LAFOLLETTE — Barely three minutes into Tuesday’s non-district match here, Campbell County snuck a ball past the keeper to score a goal and grab an early lead in its quest to upset Scott High.
But, as it turned out, that was the only point the Cougars would put on the board. The Lady Highlanders responded with seven unanswered goals to win the game convincingly, rolling to a 7-1 win that was their third in the past four games.
“I feared as we were warming up that we were kinda flat, and sure enough we came out flat,” Scott High Coach Eric Henry said of the game’s start. “I told them, Campbell County always plays hard. They’re aggressive. I watched them warm up and they had girls that touched the ball well and shot the ball well. And they got one in on us.”
Once Scott High got dialed in, it didn’t take too long for the game to lose its drama. Senior Julia Butts got the scoring started for the Lady Highlanders 18 minutes into the game off an assist by Olivia Rector. Then a fellow senior, Dara Stanley, scored off an assist by Katie Tucker to give Scott its first lead.
“We shook it off, which we’ve done a few times this year, and got back in it pretty quick,” Henry said. “We started winning the ball in the middle, getting the ball out wide. Julia had a nice shot from the side on a ball from Olivia. Dara Stanley had a pretty goal over the top, Liv had a pretty goal over the top, Rylee (Cotton) had a nice shot from outside over the top. Higgy-Baby (Mikayla Higginbotham) finished a nice strong goal at the end.”
The score stood at 2-1 after Stanley’s goal with 15 minutes remaining until late in the first half, when Cotton scored on a direct kick from beyond the 18 to give the Lady Highlanders a 3-1 lead.
The second half started quickly, with junior Gracie King out-battling several Campbell County defenders to score an unassisted goal, as the Lady Highlanders went up 4-1. Then senior Tori Sexton scored on a penalty kick to make it 5-1.
The lead was 6-1 after Rector scored over the top from just beyond the 18 with 18 minutes remaining. There was no scoring most of the rest of the way, until Higginbotham scored on a follow with a minute and a half remaining.
With the non-district win in the bag, Henry said he expects his team to quickly focus in on its looming district games.
“We gotta look forward to Loudon coming in on Thursday and Kingston Tuesday,” he said. “Those are big district games. We’ve gotta focus in and put the ball in the net effectively.”
If the Lady Highlanders win both games, they will be the regular season district champion in District 5-AA and, more importantly, get the No. 1 seed heading into the postseason tournament. Anderson County ended Kingston’s unbeaten run on Tuesday with a 2-1 win in Clinton. The Lady Highlanders defeated Anderson County by a similar 2-1 score in Clinton last week.
Kingston defeated Scott earlier this year, 1-0, in an evenly-matched game in Roane County. However, Henry said his team did not play its best soccer that night, particularly in the first half.
Loudon comes in Thursday with six wins under its belt. The Lady Highlanders have won four in a row against the Redskins, dating back to a 1-0 win in the 2017 district championship game. Last year, Scott High ended Loudon’s season with a 1-0 win in the district semifinals.