Lady Rams soccer earns two wins

By Dale Draughn - For The Ripple

Lixcy Jimenez makes her way down the field for the Starmount Lady Rams.

Kristian Russell | Yadkin Ripple

The Starmount soccer team has been on a roll lately, as the Lady Rams earned two MVAC wins last week.

Starmount 4 – East Wilkes 2

RONDA — The Starmount Lady Rams traveled the short distance from Boonville to Ronda for a Mountain Valley 1A/2A conference rivalry game with the East Wilkes Lady Cardinals. Starmount was able to defend well in the second half to take a 4-2 win over the Cardinals.

“We have things to work on and it is still a work in progress and we are playing Ram Tough soccer and that is what I like about them,” said Starmount head coach Dale Draughn. “They listen, are coach-able, and like playing the game of soccer with each other, and that is half the battle as a coach. We need to fine tune some things and get in a little better shape and we will be fine.”

The Lady Rams jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals in the 29:22 minute from Sierra Casstevens off the assist of Hailey Gomez. At the 12-minute mark of the first half, Maggie Freed scored off the assist of Alyssa Yanez to give the visiting Lady Rams a two-goal lead heading into halftime.

“We had opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net in the first half, but Parks and fullback Christa Burchette kept the East Wilkes net clean from any more goals,” said Draughn. “We had a corner and a shot from the 18 that sailed just wide after hitting the post.”

The Lady Cardinals showed fight and grit, as they scored to cut the Lady Rams lead to 2-1 off an unassisted goal by Shelia Aguilar five minutes into the second half. The Lady Cardinals tied the game off an unassisted goal by Ciara Pierce, and the game would stay tied until the eight-minute mark.

Things started to heat up for the Rams, as Kimberly Catalan scored off the assist of Gomez for a 3-2 lead. Gomez added an insurance goal with 6:15 remaining in the game off a free kick. As time ran out, the Rams were able to hang on to take a 4-2 win over the Cardinals.

“We need someone to step up and be that consistent goal scorer. I told them last night that Molly Maske was that person until her injury, but I told them to look around the huddle and she was not there, but in the stands. I needed someone to step up and I did not care who it was,” said Draughn. “Don’t get me wrong we had four different players score goals last night and I am excited about that. We had several offside calls, but I am fine with that as I have been pushing them to make their runs and anticipate the passes. If they are offside, then so be it, but eventually we are going to get the timing down and score some goals in the process.”

Stephanie Brown was the goal keeper for the Lady Rams, and she recorded 12 saves on 14 shots faced. On the opposite side of the field, East Wilkes’ keeper, Anna Parks, recorded 13 saves while facing 23 shots from the Lady Rams.

“I push them hard in practice and now they just have to implement it in games,” said Draughn. “Last night was just the start and we have to build and build, because each team is going to get better and better as the season goes along.”

Starmount 5 – North Wilkes 0

BOONVILLE — The Lady Rams shut out the North Wilkes Lady Vikings in a Mountain Valley Conference game by a score of 5-0. The Lady Rams began the game putting pressure on the North Wilkes defense and the teams challenged each others defenses until the 26 minutes when Alyssa Yanez scored off the assist of Maggie Freed for a 1-0 Rams lead.

The Lady Rams would increase their lead 10 minutes later when Hailey Gomez scored off the assist of Emma Freed for a 2-0 lead. The final goal of the first half came 5 minutes later when Maggie Freed scored off the assist of Sierra Casstevens for a Lady Rams 3-0 lead heading into halftime.

“At the half I challenged them to come out and play “Ram Soccer” and they responded from the beginning whistle,” said Starmount head coach Dale Draughn of his teams second half performance. “We became a different team, pressuring the North Wilkes defense, keeping the ball in their defensive third and finding our feet with our passes and our movement on and off the ball.”

The Lady Rams added two more goals in the second half when Maggie Freed scored off the assist of Alyssa Yanez with 31 remaining in the game. The Lady Rams kept pressuring the defense and the defense and North Wilkes keeper came up big on several shots. At the 6:17 mark, Isabel Najera scored off the assist of Jacky Carbajal for the final Starmount goal.

“We started putting passes together, making our runs and timing our runs and playing defense,” said Draughn. “It was the Starmount Lady Rams soccer team that I knew was in them and I liked what I saw.”

Stephanie Brown and Emily Parker combined for the clean sheet in goal for the Lady Rams as Brown recorded 4 saves in the first half and Parker recorded 6 saves in the second half. Leksa Billings recorded 18 saves on the Lady Rams 23 shots on goal.

“We are still working on a few things in practice and we implemented a few things today and I was pleased to see that,” said Draughn.

The win improved the Lady Rams overall record o 6-1 and their conference record to 4-1, while the Lady Vikings of North Wilkes to 5-6 overall and a conference record of 2-4.

Lixcy Jimenez makes her way down the field for the Starmount Lady Rams. Jimenez makes her way down the field for the Starmount Lady Rams. Kristian Russell | Yadkin Ripple

By Dale Draughn

For The Ripple

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