Lincolnton’s conference opener in girls soccer on Wednesday didn’t go as coach Ian Leith had hoped in terms of a win, but he saw plenty from his young team to be excited about going forward.
Katie Spaulding’s hat trick gave Bandys an insurmountable lead, but the Wolves kept it much closer than it was as the Trojans opened league play with a 4-1 win.
Lincolnton keeper Michaela Izard had 11 saves, and her alone kept the Southern District 7 Athletic 2A Conference match respectable as the Trojans (2-2, 1-0) led 1-0 at the break.
Then Bandys showed why it’s one of the favorites to win the conference.
An own goal by Lincolnton gave the visitors a 2-0 lead, and Spaulding took care of the rest. But the Wolves (2-4, 0-1) showed glimpses of getting things together, according to Leith.
“We played well, considering we start two sophomores and two freshman,” he said. “I feel like we played as well defensively as we’ve played all year. The girls gave it their all in a rebuilding year.
“If we can build off this we’ll be alright.”
Spaulding, a senior opened the scoring with a short-field goal on an assist from Cora Ricketts 12 minutes into the match.
Nine minutes into the second half, Alejandra Pena –– one of the sophomore starters –– accidentally deflected Rachel Jones’ free kick into the net for a 2-0 Bandys lead.
Less than two minutes later Spaulding scored her second goal of the brisk evening on an assist from Bryanna Cruz to essentially put it away.
Lincolnton, which traveled Bunker Hill in a conference match on Thursday and played the Trojans on Wednesday after Tuesday’s match was rescheduled due to rain, got on the board with senior Stephanie Solera’s goal with 17:40 to play.
Bandys outshot Lincolnton 18-10, and its keeper, Syd Hall, had seven saves.
“I was impressed with a lot,” Leith said, whose team lost a pair of senior college players due to graduation, he said. “If we keep getting better –– like we did tonight –– we should be alright when it comes to making the state playoffs.”