INDIAN LAND — The Lady Warriors defeated St. Joseph 2-1 on the road Friday to earn a berth in the 2A Upper State soccer title match at Christ Churchwww.fortmilltimes.com.
It took a complete performance, highlighted by a trio of top class goals, and a hat-trick by Indian Land’s junior striker Shalyn Dougherty to catapult her team to the semifinals.
Dougherty’s hat-trick against the Andrew Jackson Lady Volunteers (15-4) sent her school (14-4) into the third round of the 2A playoffs last Friday for the first time ever.
“Andrew Jackson are definitely our biggest rivals, so it was one of our most important games,” Dougherty said. “Tonight gives us a lot of confidence for Friday and what we need to do.”
The visitors from Kershaw came into The Reservation riding a confident nine-game win streak to end their season, but found themselves constantly pegged back in the opening frames. Midfielder Emma Gladu swung in dangerous crosses early on to threaten the Lady Vol goalmouth, but it was only when one of those chances creeped to the back post in the 22nd minute that Dougherty could begin her scoring spree, redirecting a volley from 10 yards out.
Katherine Kilroy, who kept the midfield controlled safely for the match, could have doubled the Warrior advantage a minute later, had her point blank header not been scrambled away by goalkeeper Ina Roberts.
It was up to Dougherty to again breach the Andrew Jackson defense in the 28th minute, after scrapping hard in the middle of the box to knock home a contested cross set up by Kayla Groll.
“It’s great to have such an aggressive player [Dougherty] here,” said sixth year head coach Mark Bonda. “She’s a real dynamic workhorse for us and a top notch player.”
A missed penalty kick opportunity seven minutes later didn’t shake the nerve of the No. 3-seeded Lady Warriors or their talismanic All-State forward. Just five minutes after play resumed for the second half, Dougherty slalomed through a crumbling Andrew Jackson back line before coolly slotting away to the keeper’s right, ending any hope of a realistic fight back from the visitors.
“This year, I decided I needed to step up and become a leader,” Dougherty said, post-game. “Because I knew I was one of the better players for the team, I knew that was important. We’ve never been this good as a team before.”
Despite the victory, Bonda is keeping realistic ahead of his team’s upcoming match against St. Joseph’s, who will host the game, as they have a higher seed.
“It was a little sloppy for me, tonight, it wasn’t our normal output,” he said. “The next round will certainly be a huge jump for us, but we’re looking forward to it.”