While the West Holmes Lady Knights got thumped 7-0 by the state’s third-ranked Div. II Madison Rams in girls soccer on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at West Holmes High School, the Lady Knights could at least leave the game knowing they had turned a major corner. In a game that could have turned extremely ugly, West Holmes gave a spirited effort in the second half to at least prove to itself that it can play at a high level of competition against one of the state’s finest teams.
Madison came out firing at an alarming clip and never let off of its relentless pace, scoring four quick early goals and then tacking on two more near the end of the first half as it built an insurmountable lead.
At halftime West Holmes head coach Brooke Fox contemplated what she wanted to say to her team. “I basically told them that they had to find it within themselves to play the game the way they know they are capable of playing,” Fox said.
The West Holmes coach said the first half held a number of mental miscues that allowed the Rams to get loose for some easy looks that resulted in goals.
Fox challenged her players to step up their game, and despite knowing they couldn’t come back from the six-score deficit, she had other goals for her team.
“We knew we could compete with this team, but we didn’t do that at all in the first half,” Fox said. “I told the girls at half that I didn’t care about the scoreboard, and we had to go out and play like it was a new game. It was great to see us come out with some passion. We started getting down and dirty with our effort, and that was what I wanted to see.”
The Lady Knights came out playing inspired, and even though Madison kept on attacking, the Rams found the back of the net just once in the second half.
Fox pointed out the play of Taylor Dye as one example of how West Holmes turned things around. She said the talented Dye was struggling with her touches in the first half, and they talked at half about how the second half would be a chance for a new start.
Fox said Dye played a much better second half and was one of a number of players who stepped up and improved the quality of play with a renewed attitude and the sense of approaching the game as if it were starting over.
Fox said that playing a state-ranked team and being down by such a large margin would make it easy for any team to falter. West Holmes experienced that very thing in a game earlier against state power Ontario. In that one, a 6-0 half-time deficit turned into an 11-0 shellacking.
Fox said seeing her team respond to a challenge against a Madison team that is as talented as any was extremely encouraging. “I was so proud of the way these girls responded tonight as compared to the Ontario game. I think that shows how much we have grown. When we played Ontario, we were in the same position, and they scored as many goals in the second half as they did in the first half, and Ontario is a very talented team, just like Madison. Even though we only have two wins, I think this second-half effort shows how much we have improved since early in the season.”
The Rams hammered out a whopping 40 shots on the night with 21 of them being on goal while West Holmes ticked off nine shots.