Polk rips Madison in soccer at Columbus, aims for WHC title

Published 7:33 am Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Polk County's Addie Lynch (white jersey, second from left) tries to control the ball against Madison's Michaela Lusk (#6). (Photo by Mark Schmerling)

Polk County’s Addie Lynch (white jersey, second from left) tries to control the ball against Madison’s Michaela Lusk (#6). (Photo by Mark Schmerling)

After his varsity soccer team handily defeated visiting Madison, 9-2, at Columbus on Monday, April 4, Polk County coach Lennox Charles told his players that if they ignored their conditioning over next week’s break, they could wind up in the same boat as the Patriots were on Monday.

Charles noted that earlier this season at Madison, Polk lost a 4-3 match, adding that some of Madison’s players apparently did not train diligently over their recent break.

Charles noted that he will hold practices over the break, and even if players are on vacation, they can still take the time to hike, run or do something to maintain their condition, even while enjoying their break.

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The Wolverines have five conference games remaining against opponents other than Hendersonville, possibly the toughest Western Highlands Conference team this year.

“We could easily lose those five games if we don’t show up and play well,’ Charles cautioned his players, urging them to spend at least some of their break time being physically active.

“You have to decide how you want to end your season,” he told them after the match.

So far, Polk is 7-3 overall and 5-1 in WHC play.

On Monday, with Polk, often a better second-half team leading 5-2 at the half, Madison players had to know they were in trouble. They were, as Charles directed his defense to compensate for the Patriots’ own compensations, and the offense kept hammering the ball into the goal.

Less than two minutes into the match, Cameron Capozzi headed the ball into the Madison goal on a throw-in from Ashley Love.

Ten minutes later, Madison’s Ellie McTaggart tied the score, but with 25:25 remaining in the first half, Capozzi booted in her second goal, to put the Wolverines up, 2-1. Caroline Lee, who also had a pair of goals, notched her first about four minutes later. Lee added her second with just over 18 minutes on the clock in that first half. Polk then led, 4-1. By the end of the half, Reese Alley made it 5-1, before the Patriots closed the gap to 5-2 on McTaggart’s second goal of the evening.

Just over seven minutes into the second half, Polk’s Ashley Love found the net to make it 6-2. Rhian Alley’s penalty-kick goal made it 7-2, and the Wolverines were demonstrating the benefits of conditioning, practice and excellent coaching. Before Rhian Alley’s second goal that ended the scoring at 9-2, the Wolverines’ Georgia Garrett also found the net.

With matches at Mountain Heritage (April 6) and Mitchell (April 7), Charles predicted that the team should be better than their two opponents, though he cautioned his players that Mountain Heritage’s artificial turf field might present challenges.

Monday’s match, Charles asserted, “was the most important game to this point in the season.” He noted that in their first match of the season, we did not defend well against Madison’s forwards. This time, Charles was able to read the Patriots better, and make adjustments.

As tough as Hendersonville is Charles knows that on a given evening, Polk could earn a win. The Bearcats are 10-0-1 overall, and 6-0 in the WHC after drubbing mountain Heritage, 9-0 on Monday.

Post-break play resumes on April 20, when the Wolverines host Owen.

Charles asks about Hendersonville (whom the Wolverines are slated to play on April 22 and May 2) and the rest of the season:

“Are we willing to do what it takes, and sacrifice enough?”