The Upson-Lee Lady Knights dominated their region tournament opener on Tuesday, defeating three seed Jonesboro 6-0. The ladies had over 30 shots on goal as a team and advance to a second round matchup Friday night against Griffin.
Lauren Helms put Upson-Lee up early against an aggressive Jonesboro defense. Nearly the entire game was played on the Jonesboro side, however, as the Lady Knights kept up their attack all evening.
Nikki Knight found the net with a loose ball off of a corner kick with just over 16 minutes left in the half. Knight settled the ball and fired high far post to put her team up 2-0.
Katelyn Gaskins added a goal with 10 minutes remaining and Brooke English added another before the half. English got a good pass in from Lauren Helms, shielded the keeper with her body, turned and scored to put Upson-Lee up 4-0 at halftime.
Hannah Law made a nice touch pass to Lauren Helms early in the second half to put the ladies up 5-0, and Stephanie Brown scored the final goal midway through the half.
Head Coach Jamie Joiner was able to freely sub four and five players at a time through the end of the game and give several of his girls playing time at different positions.
“I was very pleased with the way we played tonight,” said Coach Joiner after the game. “We are knocking the ball around well and playing incredible soccer. We just need to do a better job of finishing our opportunities.”
The win places the Lady Knights in a second round game tonight at Griffin, who defeated Westside 3-1 on Tuesday. Upson-Lee beat Griffin 7-0 earlier this season, but the Lady Bears are the top seed from the northern sub-region. The win also guarantees the Lady Knights a spot in the state playoffs, but Coach Joiner says the team’s main focus is a region championship.
“Our goal for the season was to win the region,” Joiner said. “I’m sure some of the girls know that we’ve clinched a state playoff spot, but we’re not even looking at that. What’s on our plate right now is a region championship and that’s all we’re thinking about.”
On the other side of the bracket, Dutchtown defeated Mt. Zion 15-0 and Northside topped Lovejoy 6-2. The winners of Friday night’s games will square off in the region championship on Tuesday.