By VAN HOLLAND
PINETOPS – Tarboro Vikings coach Leshaun Jenkins wasn't pleased with his 14th ranked teams start Wednesday against the SouthWest Edgecombe Cougars, but after a halftime speech, they picked up the pace and routed the Cougars 8-0. The Vikings won their second Eastern Plains Conference match in three days and are on their way to accomplishing their goal of winning the conference.
"I told them yesterday I knew we were going to play ugly in the first few minutes, because of the field adjustment," Jenkins said. "They didn't come out like I wanted them too. I honestly think we came out like we did because we didn't think they could lose this game."
Tarboro (9-1-1, 2-0) took 42 shots on goal, but they didn't get things going until about 10 minutes into the match after the Cougars controlled the ball on their offensive end the first portion of the match. SouthWest (1-9, 0-2) took only six shots.
SouthWest coach Richard Spence was very pleased with his team's performance and said he sees improvement in them every day. He said the score of the match didn't show what the actual outcome of the match really was for his team and he was proud of them for fighting the entire match like they did.
"I had a lot of expectations of my girls coming into the match since it was one of our rival matches," Spence said. "I told them they were going to be ready for us, but I told them that if they go out and play their positions and do their part then it could be a different outcome."
Spence was hoping to surprise Tarboro and pull a big upset, but that didn't happen on the scoreboard. In his team's eyes they had a moral victory, because of the way they played with the Vikings and his team's record doesn't show their progress, but they have improved.
"We have gotten better over the season and these girls want to win bad," Spence said. "I couldn't be any more prouder of my girls than any other point this year. They played the best they've played all year and they continued to get better."
SouthWest just didn't have an answer for Vikings junior forward Shayla Thorne. She scored five goals and had an assist. Katie King, Julie Hayes and Carmen Guilford each added a goal. King and Hayes also had an assist each.
When the Vikings got their offense going, the Cougar defenders couldn't stop Thorne nor the threat she posed. Thorne scored the first goal on a one on one opportunity when she went around the Cougar defender and blasted a shot past the goalie. Thorne then assisted King in her goal 16 minutes later. Two minutes after the assist, Thorne scored her second goal on another one on one chance to give Tarboro a 3-0 lead. Thorne then hit the cross bar on the top of the goal from 20 yards out and Guilford got the deflection and headed it in to give the Vikings a 4-0 lead at halftime.
Jenkins had his team running sprints at halftime, because of their performance. Once he was done with them running he told them they had 10 minutes to get it right or else. His team responded to the command and came out and played entirely different in the second half. They showed why they are picked to win the conference.
Eight minutes into the second half, Thorne added her third goal of the match when she accepted a pass from Hayes and punched it in the back of the net. Two minutes later, Thorne again found the back of the net when she got a pass from King. Hayes then added her goal and Thorne capped it off with her fifth of the match when she chipped it over the goalie's head.
Thorne has 31 goals this season and Hayes has scored 15.
"We stayed bunched up in the first half and we spread it out in the second and we worked our offense," Jenkins said. "We played our space and moved the ball around."
Jenkins was pleased with the win and said his team worked as hard as they could in the second half.
"Overall we are playing good soccer and are finding way to win matches," Jenkins said. "I am extremely proud of this team for what they have accomplished."
Jenkins thinks the Beddingfield game two days ago took a lot out of them, but he said the mental toughness kicked in and they fought until the end.
"I continue to try to mentally and physically prep them for our run down the stretch," Jenkins said. "I have to make up for these shorter games that we have played and have them prepared for the tougher matches."
Tarboro travels to North Lenior today to play at 5 p.m.