Previously unbeaten Kell (10-1) came into the game averaging 16.3 goals per game. Meanwhile, Lassiter (10-2) had this week to gear itself up for its Cobb rival following a challenging spring break trip to Nashville, Tenn., where it split games against some of the nation’s top-rated teams.
While Lassiter had the upper hand throughout Friday’s game — it held Kell to just seven shots in the first half — the Lady Longhorns kept themselves in position for a potential rally until the Lady Trojans scored four unanswered goals in the latter portion of the second half to pull away.
“Kell is a very good team. This is probably the best Kell team we’ve faced, in my opinion,” Lassiter coach Faith Harmeyer said. “We didn’t play very well during spring break, but we’ve practiced hard all week and weren’t overlooking (Kell) at all.”
Lassiter set the tone in the first half, winning the majority of the draws and having possession for the majority of the first 25 minutes. Lucy Mills ended up with a team-high three goals, all of which came late in the first half to help the Lady Trojans gain separation.
Alex Fusco, Cydney Tutchton, Alana Abbott and Rachael Rankin scored two goals apiece for Lassiter.
When Kell was in position to score in the first half, Lassiter’s defense often denied an open scoring lane, making it difficult for the Lady Longhorns to get shots off. All three of Kell’s first-half goals came on free-shot attempts.
As Lassiter clung to a 3-2 lead with less than 15 to play in the first half, the Lady Trojans came through with four unanswered goals for a more comfortable 7-3 halftime lead.
Mills got it started on a free shot with 9:36 left to play in the half. After Rankin followed with an unassisted goal, Mills came through again in traffic and then finished a Tutchton pass after Tutchton won the draw.
“We weren’t winning possessions and the draw,” Kell coach Todd Utt said. “That’s what it came down to.”
When the Lady Longhorns started winning draws, they started scoring goals. They scored two straight following Lassiter’s run, and Leslie Ferguson scored on a Jessica Armstrong assist to cut the Lassiter lead to 7-5.
It was also the first goal Kell had scored that didn’t come on a free shot.
The teams exchanged goals before Tutchton scored back-to-back goals to put Lassiter in front by four with 8:35 left. But Ferguson, Kell’s leading scorer, left the game with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, Utt said.
Once Ferguson was out of the game, the Lady Trojans added three more goals to put the game out of reach. Rankin, older sister Jill Rankin and Alex Fusco accounted for the goals.
For Kell, Haley Swift had two goals and Talen Francis added one. Goalkeeper Cara Anderson had seven saves.