GATLINBURG, Tenn. | As it turned out, Saturday was a good day for Oneida soccer.
The day began with the Lady Indians in an unfamiliar position: still looking for their first win of the season, as they entered the second day of play at the Smoky Mountain Cup with a record of 0-2-1. By the time the day ended, Oneida had won back-to-back games, outscoring DeKalb County and Morristown-West by combined scores of 9-1.
“It was a productive day from a growth standpoint,” Oneida coach Phil Newport said. “I thought our defense was much sharper, allowing one goal all day. Everyone in the back end played well in preventing good looks and the only score was kind of one of those scrambling moments.”
The Lady Indians were good up front, too, scoring nine goals in 160 minutes of soccer despite being without Claire Burress, who was injured early in Friday’s game against Dickson County.
In a 5-1 win over DeKalb County Saturday morning, the Lady Indians got two goals from Alexea Jones, and additional scores from Kamryn Kennedy, Presley Queener and Aliyah Douglas.
DeKalb County scored first, getting on the board 11 minutes in. But then Oneida scored five unanswered goals, beginning with a Queener goal that was assisted by Emma Hamilton in the 35th minute.
Just minutes later, Jones scored the first of her two goals, carrying the ball most of the length of the field before scoring to give the Lady Indians a 2-1 halftime lead.
The second half began with Kennedy scoring off an assist by Emilee Sexton in the 48th minute.
Later, Jones scored again off an assist by Douglas, making it 4-1.
Finally, Douglas scored off an assist by Queener with 15 minutes remaining.
“Other than a slow start, I was a little happier with how clean we played this morning,” Newport said. “Our passing was much more connected and the defense played much tighter after they slipped one in.”
The afternoon game saw Oneida record its first shutout of the season, with a 4-0 win over Morristown-West. The Lady Indians scored four times in the second half after a scoreless first half.
The scoring started with Lydia Kline finding the back of the net off a corner kick by Douglas in the 57th minute. And once Kline got the scoring started, the offense came in a hurry.
With 14 minutes remaining, Jillian Cross scored to make it 2-0. Less than a minute later, Jones scored off an assist by Kamryn Kennedy, and it was 3-0.
Finally, with less than five minutes to go, Douglas scored on a penalty kick.
“Offensively this afternoon we were patient and really tested Mo-West in the first and their keeper did a good job of snuffing some shots,” Newport said. “We kept at it in the second and the looks we got there were better placed balls. Up there we had much better chemistry connecting and Mo-West just could not turn us away.”
Newport said it was a good weekend overall, though the Lady Indians began play with a 3-0 loss to Dickson County Friday evening.
“We went to Gatlinburg still throwing players in spots to maximize their effectiveness, and I was pleased with the players showing creative ability to find shots and defend,” he said. “The goal is to constantly make progress as a unit and we are getting there. Individually we got plenty of productivity from the kids to compliment our proven scorers.”
Newport said he would like to have the game against Dickson County back, saying that it hurt his team to basically step off the bus and start the game.
“I think if Claire had not gone down so quickly in that one we wouldn’t have played so flat in the first half,” he said. “I think we had plenty of dangerous plays that could have resulted in scores. We had a score wiped off on an iffy offsides and had two balls off the bar. We finished plays much better as the weekend wore on.
“The weekend was a good challenge. I hope my kids enjoyed it,” Newport added.