Big hits, kicks and jumps
Coming off painful back to back losses to Wesclin and Mater Dei to end the recent Mater Dei Tournament, the Lady Bulldogs soccer team desperately needed a bounce-back performance.
On Tuesday at Mississippi Valley conference rival Jerseyville, Highland got that and more.
Jaqlyn Ferguson scored two first-half goals and Katie Augustin added a pair of goals and Bella LaPorta made the lead stand up in goal as Highland blanked the Panthers 4-0.
“We came out of the Mater Dei Tournament looking to respond and I felt we put together a full 80 minutes and our defense played well,” Highland coach Josh Oswald said. “Offensively, we just moved the well and we had a lot of good movement off the ball.”
Ferguson got Highland rolling early, scoring her two goals in the first 20 minutes for a 2-0 lead. Just before the end of the first half, Augustin popped a shot past Jerseyville goalie Katelyn Krueger for a 3-0 bulge.
In the second half, Augustin connected on a corner kick from Ferguson to complete the scoring. Ashlyn Deluca, Jaida Duncan, Ferguson, and Madalyn McCall contributed with assists. LaPorta, meanwhile, was excellent in goal, throwing up a wall against the Panthers in posting a solo shutout.
“Our defense played really well and I thought we did a good job of limiting their chances and I thought Bella made a really good save late to preserve the shutout,” Oswald said.
Highland (5-8, 3-2) will look to build on the Jerseyville win Saturday when it battles Wesclin at 11 a.m. at McKendree.
“I really like how the girls responded on Tuesday and we get to go back to battle with Wesclin here again Saturday,” Oswald. “It’s a stretch of the schedule where it gets pretty rough with some nonconference games ahead against Collinsville, Granite City, and Alton. But we like to challenge ourselves and we’re playing well, so we’ll just keep building.”