OLIVER SPRINGS | Three hundred and twenty.
That’s how many consecutive minutes Oneida has gone without allowing a goal.
The Lady Indians pitched their fourth consecutive shutout Thursday, defeating Oliver Springs 7-0 for their fifth straight win. And Oneida has now 34 goals since last allowing a goal, an impressive feat that could actually be one for the team record books.
Thursday’s win was another district victory, improving Oneida to 2-0 in the league standings with games against Rockwood and Cumberland Gap yet to go. Senior Alexea Jones scored two goals, and the remaining five goals were spread among five different players, as the Lady Indians jumped to a 3-0 halftime lead and cruised to the win.
It didn’t take long for the scoring to start. The match was just over 10 minutes old when Aliyah Douglas scored off an assist by Presley Queener, giving the Lady Indians all the offense they would need for a win.
Six minutes later, Jones scored the first of her two goals off an assist by Lydia Kline, making it a 2-0 game.
It was Kline’s turn to score next, as she cleaned up a missed shot by Kamryn Kennedy, giving Kennedy the assist and making it 3-0.
Jones scored her second goal seven minutes into the second half, off an assist by Emma Hamilton.
From there, Kennedy scored off an assist by Jillian Cross, and Kamryn Stiltner scored off an assist by Jones.
The Lady Indians’ final score came with 15:40 left on the clock, when Ali Smith scored on a penalty kick.
“The field was more narrow and shorter, and we figured we would have some congestion problems and we did,” Oneida coach Phil Newport said. “We took 22 shots and converted three in the first half. We had a lot of deflections and were shooting from further out than what we should have but we were just generating what the defense gave us.”
Newport said he was surprised that Oliver Springs stopped marking his team’s two biggest offensive weapons — Douglas and Jones. “Those tactics weren’t really working but I’m sure it was frustrating,” he said. “I think Oz, like Harriman, played hard because they have an uphill climb and their only clear chance of beating us was getting off to a good start and hoping the defense could hold.”
Newport said his team was making progress by bringing more energy in the second half regardless of the score.
“The defense had another shutout and (Rory) Blevins has really been solid cleaning up plays before they get to the keeper,” he said. “Offensively, we just need to do a better job at getting balls on frame and not missing the shots we take. All the ones we made tonight were shots the keeper couldn’t make a play off of. They were high-quality shots. We need more of those.”
Injuries have been an issue for Oneida, with senior Claire Burress still out and Queener suffering an apparent concussion during Thursday’s game.
“We keep our fingers crossed about the health of our team,” Newport said. “We won’t bring Claire back until she is ready.”