BELTON — For 13 years the Belton Lady Tigers were the team to beat in their district. Last year, someone did, and the Lady Tigers have had a bitter taste in their mouths ever since.
So, in their District 8-6A soccer opener at Tiger Field on Tuesday night, the Belton Lady Tigers were out to make a statement quickly and loudly that they are not going to settle for being second best with a 10-0 win over the Copperas Cove Lady Bulldawgs.
“We went 13 years winning a district championship and we feel like we gave it away last year,” Belton coach Wendy Knight said. “So the message tonight was we are coming out here putting them away early and let people know we are here. We’ve been dominant for so long, and just because we gave it up last year doesn’t mean we aren’t coming back for it this year.”
The Lady Bulldawgs got the message early as they turned the ball over right away and the Lady Tigers (5-4-1, 1-0) made them pay when Tiarra Hodges dribbled in from the left side, took a wide-angle shot and scored the opening goal 38 seconds in.
“It was pretty nice,” Hodges said of the goal. “Usually coach Knight wants us to score the first five minutes, and I think it set the tone very well.”
It didn’t take long for the Lady Tigers to add to the lead when Yulianna Cruz had a fairly easy score for a 2-0 lead 4 minutes in.
“Cove has always been very competitive, so we know we had to come out early,” Knight said. “Last year we didn’t set the tone and it became a fairly even match. So our goal was set the tone and control the pace of the game, or they will feel like they are in the game. So that 2-0 lead was huge for us.”
It was 7-0 by half, with Hodges adding a second goal and Rachel Mahan, Morgan Magana, Georgia Helein and Izzy Rhoads scoring as well.
“I think we have a lot more depth and team unity than we’ve had the past couple of years,” Knight said. “The last couple of years we’d get the ball at the top and one person did all the work.”
Hodges, though, is still the team’s main scorer, adding two more in the second half to go along with another by Helein for the final tally.
“It was pretty exciting to start district with four goals,” Hodges said. “It was nice to get everybody involved. Last year it was a lot of me, me, me, now everybody is out there working and scoring.”
TUESDAY'S DISTRICT 8-6A GIRLS SCORES
- Belton 10, Copperas Cove 0
- Harker Heights 2, Killeen 0
- San Angelo Central 8, Shoemaker 0
- Waco Midway 9, Ellison 0
- Belton at Harker Heights, 7 p.m.
- Ellison at San Angelo Central, 7 p.m.
- Killeen at Shoemaker, 7 p.m.
- Waco Midway at Copperas Cove, 7:30 p.m.