23 seconds in, NH takes charge
If the center referee at the Salem versus North Harrison girls’ soccer match forgot to start a tracking device to log steps or miles ran, he had a quick opportunity to start it again at the center circle on Thursday.
After blowing the whistle to begin the Mid-Southern Conference match, North Harrison’s Maddie Nicolas pressed the ball up the left side and eventually crossed a pass toward the back post. Lynsey Butler handled the ball from the deep right corner and centered it for Naomi Scott, who buried the game’s first goal 23 seconds into the match.
Scott went on to find the back of the net four times against the Lady Lions, helping send North Harrison to a lopsided 9-0 victory.
‘We took it to them from the minute the whistle blew,’ North Harrison coach Jeff Butler said. ‘That goal really got us going, and we kept pouring it on. (Naomi) had a great game with four goals. Lynsey had a goal and four or five assists. They are playing really unselfish with the give and goes.’
The Lady Cats weren’t content with scoring only one goal in the early going. Lynsey Butler sent a shot on target which was mishandled by Salem keeper Elise Tally. The loose ball found the foot of North Harrison’s Diana Burgher, who put in the second goal in the fourth minute.
Burgher, a freshman midfielder, added a second goal in the 12th minute to put the Lady Cats up 3-0.
Coach Butler said North Harrison has worked hard on conditioning in the offseason along with improving soccer skills.
‘We’re in really good shape,’ he said. ‘They’ve worked hard on conditioning, but now we need to work on putting the ball in the back of the net. I’m really proud of the girls tonight because we didn’t know what to expect with Salem.’
Before the half, North Harrison made the scoreboard light up 5-0 under a golden sun in Ramsey. Scott notched her second goal, while Butler netted the team’s fifth in the 20th.
Although early in the season, North Harrison and Salem shared a common opponent thus far. Each had seen Christian Academy of Indiana with North Harrison winning that match 6-3 and Salem defeating the Lady Warriors 6-2. When the two MSC teams met, however, the Lady Cats dominated possession throughout.
North Harrison, improving to a 2-3 record, had a few tough tests early, dropping matches to Providence (3-1), Jeffersonville (3-1) and New Albany (1-0).
‘We played really well in the Jeff game and out-shot them 21-4 and wasn’t able to score,’ coach Butler said. ‘We played New Albany tough and lost 1-0. They are a really good team with one of the state’s best players. We knew our team was getting really close. They are going to be a really good team.’
For good measure, North Harrison pushed four more across the goal line in the second half versus Salem. Making a long run from the midfield line, Nicolas took one soft touch on the run then blasted a shot to the upper corner of the netting.
Scott earned a hat trick with a takeaway turned breakaway with 24:51 to go. With a four-goal night, Scott made it an 8-0 score with 4:14 to play.
Sarah Waynescott netted the final goal after splitting a pair of Salem defenders to punch in a short shot.
‘We’ve been playing good but just haven’t been able to find the back of the net,’ Jeff Butler said. ‘Tonight, we found the back of the net. Our crosses were working.’
North Harrison sports a large roster with only two seniors: Jennifer Long and Lynsey Butler.
‘It’s going to be a project bringing this young group up,’ Jeff Butler said. ‘We only have two seniors after losing six or seven last year. We are going to be really good, but we aren’t there yet. The girls are starting to play together and mesh.’
Depth is likely going to be a strength as well as the season progresses.
‘This is the first time we’ve ever been able to go this deep,’ Butler said. ‘I couldn’t be happier. All in all, I think we have one of the most talented teams we’ve had but we’re just young. It hasn’t all clicked yet, but I think it will.’