COPPERAS COVE It took a while, but Hadley Young did what she always does score goals in bunches.
The Belton senior forward had a hat trick, including two goals in the game's final five minutes as the Lady Tigers dispatched Copperas Cove 3-0 Friday at Avenue E Field in Copperas Cove. "Cove did a good job of packing the middle and we had to remember to use our outsides and then get it into the middle," Young said. "I don't think we really tried over-the-top balls until the very end. Maybe if we would have tried those earlier it would have worked better."
The Lady Dawgs held their own with first-place Belton (14-3-1, 8-0 12-5A) for the majority of the match, relying on defense and counter attacks.
"We wanted to hold defensively so we could counter attack and as you could see we just couldn't hold the ball enough to do it," said Copperas Cove coach Hagen Streckel. "Those two goals at the end that is not what we had in mind. Hadley just broke free. She is just so fast."
However, Cove (10-10-1, 4-4) only had four shots and three on goal as it couldn't get the ball past Belton fullbacks Maggie Villamaria and Jacey Love. Young's first goal, which was scored after Emily Krenek found a crease in the box in 13th minute of the first half, held up for the rest of the match.
Lady Dawgs sophomore Shelbie Letzer had two shots on goal in a span of eight minutes, but each was saved by Belton goalkeeper Bailey Gott.
Belton struggled on offense too, missing a penalty kick by Bekah Rush in the 34th minute of the first half and failing to convert on six corner kicks, including four in the second half. Belton had 26 shots on the night and 13 on goal.
Despite the struggles, the Lady Tigers finally found their groove, popping the ball over the top of the Cove defense.
Kat Parker hit two long and high passes past the Cove defense and into Young, who got one on ones with the goalie each time and popped the ball into the back of the net.
"In the second half we kind of got loose with Kat in the middle and she was able to send some nice balls to Hadley," said Belton coach Barry Elkins. "I think that relationship is really blossoming."