CORBIN, Ky. — Oneida senior Caroline Keeton bounced back from an injury in a big way, scoring two goals on opening night. And junior Claire Burress, who is only in the field because she’s injured, also scored a goal.
But it wasn’t enough, as the Lady Indians fell to Corbin 5-3 on a soggy night in eastern Kentucky on Tuesday (Aug. 17).
Oneida scored first, when Burress found the back of the net on an assist by Kamryn Kennedy. But Corbin answered with back-to-back goals through the raindrops to take a 2-1 lead into the intermission.
Burress is typically Oneida’s keeper, but she’s moved into the field for at least the first part of the season due to a shoulder injury that would hamper her play in front of the net.
The first half featured a litany of whistles. Oneida was called for 11 fouls and four offsides. At one point, Oneida coach Phil Newport was assessed a yellow card for protesting a delayed restart.
“We sort of got frustrated with the whistles,” Newport said. “My frustration got bad, too.”
Corbin had one player with four goals, all of them break-aways.
“We schemed for her as the game wore on but we failed to match her speed and physical abilities,” Newport said.
Newport said that the one-on-one mismatches were created by breakdowns in the back. That was frustrating because one of his goals entering the season was to take the pressure off his young keepers with solid defense.
“We can’t do that,” he said of the defensive breakdowns.
Newport said his team played with “better grit” in the second half and had several chances to even the game.
Keeton, who suffered the second knee injury of her career towards the end of her junior season, came up big in the second half, scoring a pair of goals off assists by Aliyah Douglas.
Oneida finished with 18 shot attempts. Ayla Sims recorded seven saves, while Karmyn Krahn had three saves.
“We start the season with an incredibly strong lineup of teams,” Newport said. “I specified to the team the challenge is to consistently compete against everyone. We are going to experience some frustration because I have not coated our out-of-district schedule with easy teams. I said this last year: we have the potential to win them all and lose them all, and that goes for this year, too.”
Next up for Oneida is a trip to the banks of Watts Bar on Aug. 26 to face a Kingston team that is favored to repeat as District 5-AA champions.