Liz Nedved, Contributor
WAVERLY — On Senior Night in Tiger Stadium, Waverly’s senior class proved just how integral each player is to the program’s success.
Seniors Loren Moran, Zoiee Smith, and Amelia Willis all scored goals and led the reigning SOC champion Tigers to an 8-1 victory over Minford on Tuesday.
“We had a game plan coming in. Our goal and our mission is to always set the standard when playing the game,” Waverly coach Chris Murphy said. “We like to lead the way in the darkness.”
The Tigers (4-0, 4-1 SOC) did exactly that as Moran calmly sent a penalty kick into the back of the net less than eight minutes into the first half. She quickly added her second goal of the night, with an assist from junior Kylie Smith, to make the score 2-0 with 19:35 left in the half.
Despite the comfortable lead, Waverly continued to dominate offensively as Willis added two quick goals to make the score 4-0. With 3:05 remaining in the first half, Kylie Smith attacked the net, capitalizing on a tip from the Falcons’ goalkeeper to further the lead. Moran completed her hat trick, with another assist from Kylie Smith, to finish the first half at 6-0.
Starting with a keeper change in the second half, the Falcons (3-2-1, 2-2 SOC) put pressure on Waverly’s defense as the offense squeezed a solid shot on goal that was ultimately saved by the Tigers’ goalkeeper. Regardless, Waverly’s offense continued to be too much for Minford as Zoiee Smith sent a Tiger goal-kick sailing to the back of the net, making the score 7-0.
Smith then finalized Waverly’s scoring column with her second goal, following Kylie Smith’s third assist of the evening.
The remainder of half became a battle as each team put together productive possessions without capitalizing. The Falcons finally added one to the board with 1:53 left in the game as sophomore Haley Knore found the net unassisted for the final score.
While there were many moments of offensive brilliance from the Tigers, Murphy believes there is still room for improvement.
“Our issue right now is getting something on the ball,” Murphy said. “Sometimes we work harder, trying to get more fancy than what we need to, so we are just going to tone that down so we can concentrate on putting the ball in the back of the net.”
Waverly is back in action on Thursday at Miami Trace while Minford hosts Fairfield on Monday.
BOYS SOCCER: Minford 2, Waverly 1
In boys action, the Tigers and Falcons battled to a 0-0 draw at the half with multiple scoring opportunities on each side.
However, Minford (3-0, 2-0 SOC II) scored a pair of goals just minutes apart and held on for a 2-1 victory.
The Tigers (2-4, 1-3 SOC II) got on the board first as Caleb Boyer found the net early in the second half. But Minford had an equalizer with 27:43 left when Zane Miller followed a keeper deflection to the back of the net.
Moments later, Miller found the net again, and for what ultimately was the game-winner, after a pass through the Tigers’ defense left him wide-open for his second of the night.
“Skylar [Knore] stepped up and fed me a great pass that I was able to finish on,” Miller said. “I got another great ball just a few seconds later that I finished as well. Honestly, I’m lucky to be a part of such a good team this year and I couldn’t be more thankful for it.”
Minford takes on South Webster at home on Thursday while Waverly is at Miami Trace.