Lady Indian striker Hope Kenney broke the LCHS girls soccer program’s single-season scoring record
Lady Indian striker Hope Kenney broke the LCHS girls soccer program’s single-season scoring record, finishing the season with 33 goals and eight assists, when she scored two of Lumpkin’s three goals in a 3-1 victory over North Forsyth in the final regular season match of 2019 on Tuesday, April 16, at the Burial Grounds at Cottrell Field.
Kenney didn’t start the match against the Lady Radiers, as she was waiting to be cleared from concussion protocol, but definitely made her mark on the match with two goals when she was finally cleared to play.
The Lady Indians made some terrific runs to create scoring opportunities in the opening minutes of the match, but struggled to finish without their top scorer on the pitch.
However, after a back-and-forth battle between Lumpkin and North Forsyth for the first 20 minutes of the match, the Lady Indians proved that they could finish without Kenney when Ashley Read found her sister Emma Read with a through ball that Emma Read blasted past the Lady Raiders’ keeper. The goal put the Lady Indians on top 1-0 midway through the first half.
About 10 minutes later, Kenney got the okay to take the pitch and immediately made an impact with a goal in her first two minutes of action to extend Lumpkin’s lead to 2-0. Kenney made a brilliantly cheeky move to shake the first North Forsyth defender she encountered, looping around the Lady Raider to get back to the ball before lobbing a shot past the keeper to the opposite side of the net. The ball went over the keeper’s outstretched hands and sailed inside the left post for Lumpkin’s second goal of the match.
“You could tell that the team’s energy and spirits raised when she came in,” said LCHS head girls soccer coach Don Brock. “They gained confidence when they were able to score the first goal without her, but you could definitely tell a difference when she went out there.”
The Lady Indians rode the momentum of Read’s and Kenney’s goals for the remainder of the half to take a 2-0 advantage into the halftime break.
The Lady Indians’ lead was cut in half by the Lady Raiders in the second minute of the second half when North Forsyth was able to penetrate the Lady Indians’ defensive back line and get off a shot from right to left that Lumpkin keeper Charlotte Cunningham wasn’t able to handle. The goal cut the Lady Indians’ lead to 2-1.
After solid play from both sides that led to a 21-minute stalemate, Lumpkin’s Kenney once again found the back of the net to put the Lady Indians ahead 3-1. Kenney made a sensationally timed run towards the middle of the pitch. Ashley Read, working from the midfield, saw Kenney make the break and delivered a beautiful pass to Kenney that the striker rocketed into the back of the net.
Neither team scored in the final 17 minutes of the match, allowing the Lady Indians to conclude the 2019 regular season with the 3-1 win.
The victory over North Forsyth ended a three-game losing skid for the Lady Indians, improving their overall record to 10-6.
“The energy was good tonight and we looked better than we have in the past few games.” Brock said. “Now we have to get ready for the first round of State.”
Kenney’s two goals in the match allowed the junior to finish the regular season with the program’s new single-season scoring record with 33 goals.
“Given the amount of talent that this program has seen over the years, this is quite an accomplishment,” Brock said. “She has been a beast for us all season.”
The Lady Indians will enter the 2019 GHSA Girls Soccer State Playoffs as the number three seed from Region 7-AAA.
The LCHS varsity girls soccer team will square off with Adairsville High School, the number two seed from Region 6-AAA, in the first round of the State tournament.
At press time, the Lady Indians and the Lady Tigers kicked off the 2019 State Playoffs with first round action on Tuesday, April 23. No official results were available.
A Lumpkin win would advance the Lady Indians to the Sweet 16 round where they would take on the winner of the East Jackson versus Westminster match on Wednesday, May 1.
A loss would end the Lady Indians’ 2019 season.