Tazewell girls soccer shuts out visiting Richlands 4-0 | Sports

TAZEWELL, Va. — The Tazewell High School girls’ soccer team was poised to renew a rivalry on their home turf Tuesday night.

The Bulldogs dominated county neighbors Richlands with a 4-0 shutout on the natural grass field at Witten Field in Tazewell. Tazewell held a 16-8 lead on shots, 10 of which were on target.

Tazewell (7-1-1) head coach William Weeks said: “These district games really mean a lot to us, especially when we play a team from the other side of the mountain, Richlands. We just strategically kept their offensive out of the game.”

“Our defense showed an excellent performance today.”

Tazewell junior forward Audrey Brown said: “It always feels good to win against Richlands because they are our rivals. and winning so much really bonded us as a team….”

weeks said. “We’re running a pretty good offensive. We have a lot of speed. I built this team on speed this year to get through (defenders).

It was “a very physical game,” Richlands head coach Misty Bandy said. “It’s always physical here. So we say to our girls: “Play class” and let them play their game. Sometimes it works, some days it doesn’t.

“But I’m proud of her. They stayed cool, they played to the whistle, they played every ball the way it should have been (played). So the result doesn’t show (how) well we played.”

“This group of girls plays for and with each other,” Bandy said. “Some games go your way, some don’t. But we go home, we work on things. and they will come to us next.”

Both teams started Tuesday’s game with only two substitutes on the bench. Things got even worse for Richlands in the last minute of the first half when senior Emily Whited injured her right lower leg and had to limp, although she returned for the second half.

Richlands (6-3) benefited from the quick reactions of freshman goalkeeper Gabi Cox, whose sure grip of the ball kept her team in play on numerous occasions.

Tazewell’s staff operated in complementary shifts, with defenders, midfielders and wings augmenting attackers up front. That allowed the Bulldogs to take some risks by trying to drive the ball forward, knowing support wasn’t far away.

The Lady Blues played aggressively on defense, challenging 50-50 chances and using their strength and size to their advantage. But ultimately too many green shirts pushed forward to include them all.

Less than ten minutes into the game, Tazewell’s left-hand forward Payton Harvey fired a shot wide of the near post for the first goal. Brown’s 15-yard smash late in the half gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 half-time lead.

After Tazewell defender Skylar Mitchem sparked cheers from the home fans with a clean sweep of the ball, Abigail Rhudy at the other end showed nifty skill, dribbling, chipping and punching the ball through a packed Richlands defense to put it 3-0 ahead brought.

The end result came from a Brown corner kick which Josie Whitt converted into a goal through the back door with 22 minutes remaining.

Blue Tornado assistant coach Michael Bandy said: “The second half was better than the first. I liked that we started passing the ball a little bit…actually playing football. We look forward to that.”

“Believe them (Tazewell). They won a tough match. and we are ready for the next time.”

Misty Bandy added: “But I also want to thank my girls because they never gave up. There is no giving up in this team.”

Tazewell had defeated Lee High 11-0 less than 24 hours earlier, and the offense kept going for the rivalry game.

“I think we still had adrenaline from last night,” Weeks said. “It’s a good win for us.”

Brown said the back-to-back shutouts were in part the result of “our conditioning and being able to move from one type of team to another without losing our cohesion and still being able to play together.”

She said: “I think we’re really good at holding each other accountable and holding each other together, spinning the ball and overlapping, filling positions and just being there for each other everywhere.”

Brown said her coach, Weeks, “is very energetic. He always gets us going, gets us going and makes sure we’re ready for the games. You can tell he loves the sport and loves us. He’s just a great coach. He really is.”

Tazewell’s next game is scheduled for Thursday in Honaker. The Lady Blues return for another district game in Marion on Thursday.

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