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Soccer: West cruises by South behind Harrell's hat trick
West Forsyth junior Sarah Harrell attempts a shot against South Forsyth on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. - photo by Ben Hendren

West Forsyth’s girls soccer team was active early in their Region 5-7A opener Friday against South Forsyth, scoring four goals in five minutes toward the end of the first half and eventually taking a 5-1 victory.

“It was an overall team effort and it was a great win,” West girls coach Jason Galt said. “It was a lot of fun. The thing is, we play these guys a second time, and now they've seen what we do. We need to be prepared as far as our scheme and our system, so we have to make sure we come out the second time we play them with the same energy, if not more.”

The Wolverines showed glimpses of things to come in the opening minutes, with West’s Ava Martin almost connecting on a shot that was blocked by South goalie Anna Montgomery. A few minutes later, though, Martin found open space and scored West’s first goal of the night with 22:14 left in the first half.

Freshman Alexia Force added a crafty score eight minutes later, kicking the ball backwards over her right shoulder — essentially a grounded bicycle kick — in front of the net to up West’s lead to 2-0.

Taylor Robinson
West Forsyth sophomore Taylor Robinson lets off a shot against South Forsyth on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. - photo by Ben Hendren
“It was unbelievable,” Galt said. “To be a freshman and be as strong a player as she is right now for us, it says a lot for her.”

Another strong performance came from junior Sarah Harrell, who ended her night with a hat trick, scoring West’s last three goals of the game to give the Wolverines a 5-0 halftime lead. She’s found her place at forward with the varsity team after being the JV squad’s leading scorer last year.

“As a coach, what you've got to do is evaluate talent and find what you have,” Galt said. “She has a great shot — she's a really good soccer player. Just finding (her) the spot that helps the team have success, we think we found her spot.”

South was able to avoid being shut out in the second half with a goal from sophomore Peyton Goolsby in the last 10 minutes, but despite improved play from the War Eagles, their deficit caused by defensive breakdowns in the first half was too big to overcome.

“It was a disconnect in the back four,” South girls coach Eric Swanburg said. “Just the basics of soccer, our backs just remembering what they've grown up learning and staying pinched in, not allowing gaps opening. They were getting spread and allowing those through balls in. It's so easy and they were just mental errors.”

West (3-1-1, 1-0 Region 5-7A) will travel to play Milton on Tuesday, while South (2-4, 0-1 Region 5-7A) will be at Lambert.