BY MATTHEW SPARKS
THE DAILY INDEPENDENT
FLATWOODS Kynidee Allen had Georgia on her mind.
Allen served up a corner kick in the waning moments of Russell’s district tilt with Ashland. It found Georgia Arrington in a crowd in the front of the net and the sophomore provided the winning tally in a 2-1 win over the visiting LadyCats on Tuesday night.
Russell coach John Perry said Arrington is usually the distributor on the corners. After several late scoring chances did not go the Lady Devils’ way, Allen chose to shake things up.
“Things weren’t working earlier in the game so (Allen) decided to take one,” Perry said. “It worked out for us. Georgia was in the right place and finished it well.”
Ashland thwarted many Russell opportunities to break a tie in the final minutes behind the dazzling play of Emma Dowdy. The keeper collected 18 saves.
“She stood up to it like a champ,” Ashland coach E.B. Lowman said. “She is tough kid. And she is not really a goalkeeper. She is a field player. She is a keeper this year because we don’t have a goalkeeper. That is the kind of kid she is. I asked her if she would play in goal. She said, ‘Yes sir.’ She is willing to do whatever it takes.”
Kylie Busick scored the only goal of the first half to stake Russell (4-5) to an early lead. Abby Keeton provided the assist. Her ball found Busick streaking toward the net and she blasted it past the keeper.
The LadyCats seemed to have a scoring chance with three minutes before intermission. Mimi Moore broke free from the Lady Devils defenders but was tripped up by the Russell keeper. After the officials held a brief discussion, the keeper was issued a red card and the Lady Devils had to compete a player down for the rest of the contest.
Perry said he was pleased with the way his team overcame adversity and pulled out a victory.
“I think it was apparent that the better team won tonight,” Perry said. “We possessed the ball well and moved the ball very well. E.B. likes to go man-to-man all over the field and our players recognized that and drove it at their players. Some of the calls did not go our way tonight, but they capitalized when they needed to.”
The score remained the same until a determined Abby Huff provided the equalizer for Ashland (4-5-2) with a goal in the 55th minute. It was the first goal the LadyCats have scored in the last eight meetings with Russell.
“They know they can play,” Lowman said. “I only have two seniors on this team. It’s a young team. They are learning and are buying into (the system) better. You have to build a team and we are doing it. They are catching on and we are starting to put more girls on the field.”
Russell kept the pressure on late in the match until its perseverance paid off with Arrington’s second goal of the season with 6:23 left on the clock.
“A lot of their conditioning is that we don’t have a lot of depth this year,” Perry said. “They are able to keep that momentum and keep pushing teams when some weaker teams would have given up and not had as many opportunities late in the game.”
Russell is now 2-0 in district seeding play. Ashland dropped to 0-2. The two teams will meet again in the nightcap of a boy-girl doubleheader in Ashland on Sept. 21.