The Woods Charter girls soccer team dominated Seaforth, 4-0, on Wednesday night at The Park at Briar Chapel behind a hat trick from freshman midfielder Amelia Cherry.
The Wolves (9-0, 2-0 Conf.) came out firing on all cylinders. After about 10 minutes of work, Woods Charter had already run up the score 2-0 on the Hawks (4-4, 2-0 Conf.) thanks to two goals from Cherry off two corner kicks.
According to head coach Graeme Stewart, this wasn’t an accident. An emphasis was placed on Woods Charter earning early corner chances and capitalizing on set plays the team had practiced.
“We’ve got players who can scare people,” Stewart said. “But when you can see goals off of set pieces it makes you nervous. We were also putting in real quality crosses, so we had them worrying. Any team, if you’re struggling to defend corners and balls coming into the box, you’re worrying about that and not potentially your positioning, so it was a good start by us.”
The Hawks continued to struggle with Woods Charter’s pressure. Seaforth couldn’t manage to move the ball fast enough, and its passes were regularly picked off by the Wolves — many times before reaching midfield. Even as the Hawks settled into the game later in the first period, they were unable to create counter-attacks after taking posession in their own end.
“The pressure we were putting on from the top was, for me, the difference in the game today,” Stewart said. “We were winning the ball back all over the field and their passes were going astray because of the pressure we’re putting on them. That’s just a testament to our girls’ desire and discipline.”
With a few minutes remaining in the first half, the Wolves pushed the ball up the right wing and sent a cross into the box. Cherry once again found an opening and hammered the ball into the back of the net to send Woods Charter into halftime with a 3-0 lead.
Stewart urged his team to not get comfortable and let up its pressure, and Woods Charter clearly took the message to heart. The Wolves continued to dominate possession in the second half.
After a multitude of shots for Woods Charter, at about the 77 minute mark, junior Sienna Gray worked around a defender and booted the ball into the back right corner of the net to further extend the Wolves score to 4-0.
In his speech to his team following the win, Stewart expressed nothing but pride in his “little bitty school” for defeating a 2A team. He added that it's all part of a challenging schedule that he hopes will fortify his team for another state title run.
Last spring, Woods Charter reached the 1A state final before falling to Christ the King, 3-0. The Wolves finished the year with an overall record of 19-1-2.
“We know the level of play that it takes, which is why we’re playing really good teams like Seaforth to prepare for whatever will come,” Stewart said. “But that’s way off.”