By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – It took several years for the Saltillo High girls soccer team to finally play Lee County power Tupelo.
It may take a couple more before the upstart program beats the mighty Lady Wave.
Behind a hat trick by Chardampé Hannah and two goals apiece by Abby Phillips, Katie Taylor and Erin Tucker, the Wave shut out the Lady Tigers 10-0 at Tupelo High School on Thursday evening.
“They got some good athletes,” Tupelo head coach Shelley Miller said about the Saltillo team. “They’re going to get better as it goes.”
The Class 5A Lady Tigers, who are in their sixth season, fell to 5-3-1 with the loss to 6A juggernaut Tupelo.
“It’s a building process,” said Saltillo head coach Eric Reynolds. “We’re still in those beginning stages of building a program at Saltillo.”
The Lady Wave led 3-0 at halftime thanks to two goals by Hannah and another goal by Erin Tucker.
“Right now in the season, our girls are playing really well together,” Miller said after her team improved to 11-0. “They’re doing a good job of knocking the ball around and seeing each other and playing just as a group, no matter who we got in, from the top to the bottom.”
That was evident in Thursday’s game. Eight Tupelo players recorded assists, including 2009-10 Daily Journal Player of the Year Georgia Russell, who also scored in the second half.
Phillips had a game-high two assists.
“That’s great to have right now,” Miller said of her team’s chemistry on the field. “We just hope it continues and gets better throughout the season.”
Meanwhile, the Saltillo bunch has struggled of late.
“The past week and a half, we kind of lost our edge,” Reynolds said. “We haven’t played well in the past week and a half, but we’re going to get back on track.”
Even though Reynolds’ squad lost by double digits Thursday, he did see some good out of playing a non-division match against the Lady Wave. He believes the match against Tupelo will “pay dividends” come later in the season.
“That’s the reason we scheduled them,” Reynolds said. “So we could get a playoff look early in the year and see how we would handle adversity.”
(B) Tupelo 8, Saltillo 0: The Golden Wave received two goals apiece from Jackson Nabors and A.J. Stewart in blanking the Tigers (2-7) on its home field.
Alx Little, Garrett Rogers, Nathan Wallace and Brandon Wheeler added goals for Tupelo (7-3), which led 4-0 at halftime.
Rogers and Luke Mason tied for a game-high in assists (two).
Contact John Wilbert at 678-1572