by Rusty Ellis
The Cookeville Lady Cavs moved to 4-4 on the season with their 3-1 win over district foe Smyrna on Tuesday night, powered by a two-goal effort from Carmen Sandoval.
Alaina Dalton got the scoring started early in the first half, as her goal in the 10th minute gave the Lady Cavs a 1-0 lead.
Sandoval added her two goals in the 34th and 37th minutes, respectively, to push the lead to 3-0 at the half, as Cookeville put together one of their most complete halves of the season thus far.
Smyrna struck for their lone goal early in the second half, but that’s all they got against Lady Cav keeper Ava Luna, as Cookeville closed out the 3-1 win to even up their district record to 3-3.
For head coach Lauren Metts, the key early in the game was the energy her team played with.
“We said last week that how we start games would be a turning point for us,” Metts said. “Most of the games we’ve lost, we’ve lost in the very beginning…we talk before every game about how everyone has a role to play and if someone doesn’t play that role, we’re a man down.”
Sandoval has put together an excellent freshman season for the Lady Cavs, and Metts attributes her growth to learning both how to score and how to put herself in a position to score.
“She’s started to find her place on the team, she’s starting to find out how to help us get her the ball in better spots to score,” Metts said. “Scoring is fantastic, but helping your team push the ball down the field to score is great too. She’s just a great player.”
The Lady Cavs will welcome Stewart’s Creek into town on Thursday, as Cookeville has a chance to take down the top team in the district and one of the best teams in the state in the classification.
Metts says the key to that game is the same as each game thus far: players knowing their roles and executing them.
“Stewart’s Creek is a phenomenal team and we’ve got to bring our A-game,” Metts said. “We talked about that after the game, that this can be our big turning point in the season. We’ve just got to take advantage of every opportunity we get.”