Clay Archer, Contributor
WAVERLY — Zoiee Smith is back … as if you didn’t know that already.
In last week’s win over Wheelersburg, Waverly’s electric junior scored twice after returning from an injury that’s kept her out most of the season. Thursday, she continued to pelt the opposing goalkeeper, scoring three times in a 5-0 win over Minford.
After all, she’s got some catching up to do.
“It feels great,” Smith said. “It feels great to finally be back out here and be with my girls again. We just need to keep building off this game. We just keep getting better and better. As we go into tournament play, we’ll play against some good teams and we need to be at our best.”
Smith started Tuesday’s scoring with two goals that came within a minute of each other. Off an assist from Kylie Smith, the left-footed forward put Waverly up 1-0 with 31:35 left in the first half. Then, 59 seconds later at 30:36, she made it 2-0.
Smith’s last goal came with 36:30 left in the second half, the game’s final score.
“Zoiee can’t get a hat trick without having anybody else behind her,” Waverly coach Chris Murphy said. “So it’s really quite a strong family vibe. We’re looking for one another. When Zoiee’s making her runs to those seams, there’s good chemistry. That benefits everybody. So I’d have to say the chemistry among our teammates is allowing us to succeed the way we’re succeeding.”
In between Smith’s first two and final goals, Amelia Willis scored with 27:52 remaining in the first half. Loren Moran followed suit, scoring with 13:27 left.
It was Willis’ 18th goal this season and Moran’s 22nd.
The win over the Falcons (7-7, 5-3 SOC II) means the Tigers (11-3, 8-1 SOC II) need just one more conference win to clinch at least a share of their first-ever Southern Ohio Conference title.
They’ll have the chance to wrap it up for good on Thursday with a trip to Northwest.
“Minford is always a strong team and they’re a team that’s had the SOC [title] before,” Murphy said. “They do a great job with their girls. As far as us, we’re really excited because of the position we’re in. As a result, we’re working together as one team.”