KATHLEEN -- Veterans didn’t perform its best on Tuesday night, but it was still more than enough to overwhelm an outmatched Bainbridge squad by a 7-0 final in the first round of the GHSA Class AAAA girls soccer playoffs.
“Honestly, the performance (Tuesday) was not to par,” Veterans head coach Haley Walker said. “We tend to play down (to) our competition. Our girls like to sit back and read each team. At halftime, I told them we could do better and we talked about how to fix that. It wasn’t the cleanest game we’ve ever had, but it will get us through to the next round, and we’ve got some work to do.”
It was the 18th shutout in 21 matches this season for the Warhawks defense.
Bainbridge didn’t record a single shot in the contest and was pinned inside its own end for almost the entire match as Veterans defenders repeatedly corralled clearance attempts near midfield and restarted attacks.
“Our defense wasn’t really tested, but they held (the ball) in and provided a possession game that we like,” Walker said.
Forward Khayla Owens opened the scoring in the seventh minute after volleying home a cross from Mahalia Laquines, who created numerous dangerous opportunities down the left wing in the match.
She went on to score a hat trick with her third goal with a little more than two minutes until halftime for a 4-0 lead, and she added a fourth goal after the break to bring her total to 16 on the season.
“She did really well,” Walker said. “She just controls the game and controls the tempo. She dominates up top for us.”
Veterans also scored a pair of goals on corner kicks. Owens added the first on a cross from Taylor Craig and Savannah Smith scored the second all by herself on a curler from the left corner.
“We’ve been talking about set pieces quite a bit,” Walker said. “We don’t score a lot on them, so any improvement is good.”
Veterans will host Southeast Whitfield on Tuesday. The Raiders, who are the No. 2 seed from Region 7-AAAA, advanced by defeating White County 4-2.