The Brownwood Lady Lions' early season dominance carried over into Friday's home opener at Gordon Wood Stadium, where they throttled the Graham Lady Blues, 8-0, in non-district action.
The victory was the ninth in 10 outings by the Lady Lions (9-1), and eighth by way of shutout.
“I'm feeling pretty good about this team, every day they're getting better and better,” said Lady Lions first-year head coach Brent Hardwick. “They had a pretty good base coming into the season, so that makes my job easier. With the coaching they've received in the past, Coach Rob (former Brownwood head coach Keith Robinson), and their club coaches, we're putting the pieces together and rolling with it. I'm just putting my little spin on it and it seems to be working.”
The Lady Lions needed less than two minutes to produce all the offense they needed, as Taylar Kinzler recorded the first of her three goals just 81 seconds into the contest, scoring from 20 yards out on the right side as her shot skimmed off the bottom of the cross bar and landed in the back of the net. Kinzler scored again at 25:09 to stretch the advantage to 2-0, as her straight on shot from 15 yards away trickled off the Graham goal keeper's hands and eventually found the net.
Aleyia Cotton followed with the first of her two goals, scoring from 5 yards out on a rebound after a Madison Chesser attempt at the 20:34 juncture. Carly Person closed out the first half scoring as Chesser sent a pass from the far right corner to Person directly in the front of the goal, who scored from 5 yards away.
Cotton tallied her second goal just 2:47 into the second half, with an assist from Maddy Garza. The Graham goal keeper attempted to deflect Garza's offering, but missed, as the ball rolled right to Cotton 5 yards away from the net.
Chesser then contributed a pair of goals at the 29:05 mark again with 9:26 to go. The first occurred when the Graham goal keeper was unable to corral an attempted save, and Chesser scored from 5 yards out. The second was the result of a corner kick by Cotton to Chesser, who scored her from almost the same spot as the first.
Kinzler then wrapped up the scoring with a 10-yard shot that secured her hat trick with 2:40 left.
“Our offensive effort was great,” Hardwick said. “I knew going into this game Graham could give us trouble because, being a first-year program, they like to pack the back and hold 11 players deep in the box so they don't give us as much room to work around as we like. But, with that being said, I thought we did a great job pulling people out of position and creating space and opportunities and putting it away.”
As for Brownwood's eighth shutout of the season, Graham's offense spent less than 10 minutes past the midfield stripe and the Lady Lions controlled possession throughout most of the contest.
“Defensively, we did another great job,” Hardwick said. “Jamicah Bushnell, Haylee Allgood and Val Sanchez anchor our defense, and not much gets by them. And having Channing Barron, a great goal keeper, behind them, gives you all confidence in the world to do your job well.”
The Lady Lions are off until Feb. 16 when they host Abilene Wylie in the District 4-4A opener.
“We're excited for district. It should be wide open and one of the toughest in the state,” Hardwick said. “It's only going to sharpen you and get you ready for the postseason.”