Olson’s big foot lifts Bulldogs

soccer_ball_clip_art_13012By Gene Phelps

Daily Journal

NEW ALBANY – New Albany coach Caryle Vogel had a halftime speech planned after Kristen Olson scored a goal in the 39th minute of Monday’s MHSAA Class 4A first-round soccer match against Amory.

Olson’s goal gave the sluggish Lady Bulldogs a 2-1 halftime lead on their way to a 4-1 victory on a bitter-cold night.

“It was massive,” Vogel said of Olson’s shot. “It’s a lot easier to get onto these girls when we’re up a goal than when we’re tied.

“That was a huge goal for us.”

New Albany (12-5) advanced to the second round for only the second time in the program’s history. The Lady Bulldogs will host Lafayette or travel to Richland for Saturday’s next round.

“Either way, we’re excited to be in the second round of the playoffs,” Vogel said.

Olsen, a junior center midfielder, scored two goals and added an assist in the win. Her goal from the top of the box in the 58th minute gave the Lady Bulldogs a 3-1 lead.

Senior forward Katelyn Watson, a Mississippi State commitment, scored New Albany’s final goal in the box off a corner kick from Olson.

“Coach told us (at halftime) to keep our heads on straight,” Olson said. “He wanted us to focus on our defense because we’d been playing so much offense. He wanted us to keep our wind and not let Amory come back.”

Vogel thought his young team was caught up in the moment early in the match.

“I thought we came out a little timid,” he said. “They have the quality and talent to play with these girls. They can’t be afraid to make mistakes. I thought we matched Amory’s intensity the second half.”

Sanders Goode, an eighth grader, gave New Albany a 1-0 lead in the second minute with an assist from Watson.

Amory answered in the 32nd minute on a goal from Ashley Stevens.

gene.phelps@journalinc.com