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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11, 2007
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Brewer High goalkeeper Patti Thomas makes a save on a kick from Decatur High's Claire Walker during the Morgan County Soccer Tournament on Tuesday. Thomas was injured on the play and had to leave the game. Decatur won 8-0.
Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
Brewer High goalkeeper Patti Thomas makes a save on a kick from Decatur High's Claire Walker during the Morgan County Soccer Tournament on Tuesday. Thomas was injured on the play and had to leave the game. Decatur won 8-0.

Second-half salvation
After slow first half, Lady Red Raiders score in bunches

By Bradley Handwerger
bhandwerger@decaturdailiy.com 340-2462

The general idea in soccer is that the more shots you take, the better chances you have of scoring goals.

Tuesday, in the opening game of the Morgan County Soccer Tournament, Decatur High's girls team put on a clinic, outshooting Brewer by 32 shots and collecting six more corner kicks than did the Lady Patriots.

The result, then, shouldn't be shocking. Defending tournament champion Decatur won 8-0 at the Jack Allen Recreation Complex.

"I told the girls at halftime that we were playing nice soccer and putting passes together," Decatur head coach Mike Pline said. "We were making nice crosses. But if somebody isn't going to step up and get to the ball, it doesn't mean anything."

Pline's team won its nightcap 5-0 over Priceville, finishing the day with 20 points to tie Austin for the first-day lead.

Winning the opener 8-0 wasn't nearly as easy as it sounds. Decatur led only 1-0 at halftime, Brewer's eighth-grade goalkeeper Patti Thomas playing a large part.

Thomas came up with 23 saves in the game — 10 in the first half — before leaving late in the match after getting kicked while on the ground making a save.

"To be so young, her instincts are excellent," said Brewer head coach Sandra Sowder, who expected Thomas to make a full recovery from the blow to the head.

Added Pline, "She's got great hands. She did a good job. I'm sorry she got hurt."

Decatur took 15 first-half shots but couldn't get much to go. Despite controlling the pace, the Lady Red Raiders had barely anything to show.

Then, in the 12th minute, Meg Adams deftly touched the ball across the mouth of the goal and below Thomas to Georgia Gamble, who swiftly knocked the ball over the goalline for a 1-0 lead.

But that was it. Nothing more after 30 minutes of play.

Three minutes into the second half, that all changed.

Jennifer Neill's shot ricocheted off the bottom of the crossbar, keeping Decatur off the board for the moment.

A minute later, Thomas nor the crossbar could stop Adams from one-touching the ball into the net. The assist came from Neill, whose cross mirrored that of Adams' first-half assist.

Two minutes after that, Neill got her goal, right-footing a cross from Gamble for a 3-0 lead. Then it was Ali Dubach, who like her teammates, one-touched a pass from Adams into the net.

Decatur took a 5-0 lead when Mary Elaine Williamson struck in a rebound from a beautifully placed cornerkick. In the 46th minute, Megan Schmidt pushed Decatur to a 6-0 advantage by nudging a cross from Tara Givens into the goal.

Haley Rutherford in the 50th minute and Sunny Conner in the waning minutes of the game topped off the scoring for Decatur.

"Our girls got tired," Sowder said. "We're not in as good a shape."

But the experience of being in the game in the first half before letting it spiral out of control in the closing half is one Sowder said will be good for her girls.

"We've got all the right ingredients. It'll click," Sowder said.

As for Pline, he was happy to leave the field with a win. Having not seen Brewer before Tuesday, he wasn't sure what his team would face.

"Brewer was an X-factor in the tournament," Pline said. "They had a winning record. I hadn't seen them. I was nervous."

The tournament takes a day off Wednesday before resuming play Thursday.

Soccer results

Results of the Morgan County Soccer Tournament played at the Jack Allen Recreation Complex in
Southwest Decatur on Tuesday.

Priceville girls 3, W. Morgan 0

Austin girls 8, Hartselle 0

Decatur boys 2, Brewer 1

Decatur girls 8, Brewer 0

West Morgan boys 2, Priceville 0

Austin girls 10, West Morgan 0

Decatur girls 5, Priceville 0

Hartselle girls 1, Brewer 1

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