PILOT MOUNTAIN — It took the East Surry soccer team a little while to get going in Thursday match with Atkins, but once the Lady Cardinals got going, it was a long evening for the visiting Camels.
East Surry (6-7 overall, 4-2 Northwest 1A Conference) struggled during the first 14 minutes against their visitors, who more than held their own and even mounted a few threats against favored East Surry. Then the Lady Cardinals scored three goals in less than four minutes, all by senior striker Mary Jo Lowe, and cruised from there to a 6-0 victory.
The home team was back on the field for the first time in two weeks, with their last outing having been a 3-1 win at Mount Airy on April 13. The rust showed early on, but the Lady Cardinals eventually settled in and picked up their first shot on goal in the 11th minute, when the Atkins keeper just beat East’s Elyssa Jones to a loose ball in front of the net.
Five minutes later, with East Surry on the attack again, there was no stopping them. Jones was again in the middle of things, pushing a ball across the front of the goal area to Lowe, who finished to put the Lady Cardinals in front 1-0.
The score finally seemed to shift the momentum permanently in favor of the home team. East Surry continued to press its attack, and in the 18th minute, Lowe was open from 25 yards out and angled a shot slightly to the left, where the ball struck the crossbar and ricocheted into the net for a 2-0 lead.
The Greensboro College recruit wasn’t done, not by a long shot. East Surry quickly regained possession after the kickoff, and the ball again ended up on Lowe’s foot. Just 29 seconds after she’d scored her second goal, she completed the hat trick, this time sending one into the net from 10 yards out.
The Lady Cardinals went on to dominate the rest of the match and picked up their third shutout victory of the season. The Lady Cardinals received solid play from keeper Maggie Collins, defenders Laura Ruiz and Abby Key, and from Natalie Zackman in the middle of the field.
The match with the Camels was supposed to be the team’s Senior Night, but rescheduled matches mean that East will play twice more at home before the regular season ends. The Lady Cardinals will host Mount Airy tonight in a match that is important for earning the No. 2 state playoff seed out of the conference.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.