By VAN HOLLAND
PINETOPS – Second-year coach Richard Spence thought his team was about to break the cycle Monday against the Hertford County Bears. The SouthWest Edgecombe Lady Cougars haven't scored a goal all season and that stayed the same after Monday's match against the Bears. The Cougars were shutout 3-0 and fall to 0-4.
"I was pleased with the way my girls played overall," Spence said. "They went hard and played aggressive. They gave everything they had honestly."
The Cougars had plenty of chances to score in the second half, but couldn't get the breaks they needed. They took five shots on goal in a five minute span. Hannah Murphy had a wide open opportunity with no one between her and the Bears goalie, but her shot hit the left post on the goal and deflected back out. The Cougars regained control of the ball and missed another shot.
The Bears took advantage of a questionable call in the 27th minute of the match when Cougar defender Katherine Simon was called for pushing a Bears player inside the penalty box. Both players were going for the ball and Simon used her left arm to gain momentum of the ball and was whistled for the foul. The bears converted the penalty kick and led 1-0.
Mychaela Collins had seven saves in the first half, despite that one penalty kick that skipped by her hands.
In the second half, Spence changed his lineup around and put Madison Batts in the goal. Just two minutes into the second half, a Bears player had a one on one chance against Batts and blasted a shot past her to give the bears a 2-0 lead.
The bears added another goal with nine minutes left to make it 3-0.
Spence is looking for his team to improve. He knows they have the ability to get better, but he also knows there are things they have to do to get better.
"We have to communicate better then what we have ben doing," Spence said. "We have to learn we can't just go over and help a teammate out because then no one is covering their space when they help the teammate."
The Cougars are having trouble filling their lanes and are staying bunched up when the ball is on the sidelines.
For the Cougars to get better, Spence said his team is going to have to learn to fill their spots and know when to help their teammates out and when they have to stay put.
"When we start learning to fill our spots we will start to score," Spence said. "Once we learn the importance of that we will begin to be in games and start to win."
Spence believes that when his team came off of the field after the game they had given him everything they had and tried their hardest. He said they gave him 120 percent and that is all he can ask for.
The Cougars took 14 shots on goal and the Bears took 13.