Prep Soccer: McPhatter nets hat trick
With a little more time and cooperation from Mother Nature, East Davidson soccer coach Paul McIntire believes his team can be real good. If Monday's game with Wheatmore is any indication, they are headed in the right direction.
Senior striker Taylor McPhatter picked up a hat trick and sophomore Madi Hallman punched in two more goals, as the Lady Golden Eagles won their third straight in a 5-1 nonconference decision at Brown Middle School. Hallman added an assist and Taylor Bell got the victory in goal. The Eagles are now 3-2, including a big win recently against Central Davidson.
“We are starting to finally come together,” said McIntire. “We had just gotten all of our girls when we played Southwestern Randolph [March 11]. We had like half a day of practice thanks to this lovely weather that we are having. But they are figuring out each other and starting to click. There are a few issues we need to address and figure out, but they are coming around.”
East was without several key players to start the year while the basketball team wrapped up its season. With a full lineup the last three outings, the Eagles have averaged four goals, accumulating a trio of wins along the way.
EDHS was on the attack early and often, managing to wear paint off the crossbar and post. Wheatmore goalie Megan Smith eventually stopped getting help from the frame, as East began to find net instead.
In the seventh minute, Kali Stinson made a long throw to the center of the field that made its way through much of the box. It found the foot of McPhatter and was drilled to the near post for a 1-0 lead.
Struggling to a 1-7 start to the year, the Warriors found a way to get even with 21 minutes to go first half.
Using a penalty just outside the box, Emily Brown took the direct kick but it was knocked down before reaching Bell. It caromed over to Ruthie Spencer and the midfielder put it away to tie the score.
It was only a minor setback for the Eagles, who possess one of the stronger front lines around led by McPhatter and Hallman.
The two hooked up five minutes after the Wheatmore goal to put East ahead to stay. Hallman carried the ball down the right wing, looking to the center of the field to see what was available. She saw McPhatter crashing the back post and lifted a cross that was on the money. The EDHS homecoming queen blasted a header back across the frame for a textbook goal and 2-1 advantage.
“She knows how to hang out at the back post,” said McIntire. “McPhatter's job is to be there and she was there and finished it. She has worked on heading the ball all last practice and I told her she could score this way. She is a lot taller than most defenders and it was beautiful.”
Getting strong play out of the midfield from players like Lori Morgan, Kali Stinson and Chloe Yarbrough, the ball continued to stay on the East end and it resulted in one more goal before intermission.
Hallman stopped about seven yards outside of the box just short of six minutes remaining, driving a right-footed shot by Smith to put the home team up by two.
East took a 4-1 lead on McPhatter's third goal of the night 10 minutes into the second half. The final tally came seven minutes later by Hallman. She showed her ability and strength with her left foot this time, clearing space with her dribble before finding the upper 90 portion of the goal to the far post. The shot rattled off the back part of the cage before spinning around in the net.
“Their coach was hollering out that she only has one foot,” said McIntire. “I made it a point to Hallman to let him know that she has two feet. That last one was with her left foot and that is what is about. She is going to be a beast when she is a senior. She is a young-in and I am excited.”
The Eagles are scheduled to begin Central Carolina Conference play today with a trip to Salisbury at 7 p.m.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or email@example.com.