By By Thomas Burton / special to The Star
Dec. 17, 2002
COLLINSVILLE Three goals by Leanna Baldner led Meridian past homestanding West Lauderdale 4-0.
Meridian used a dominant passing game early to cut the field in half as the Lady Knights could not get anything going.
For the Meridian boys, 7-5, Leslie Rush obtained a hat-trick to lead his team over the Knights 3-1. But it was costly as Rush broke his leg and will miss at least the next six weeks.
West Lauderdale played very aggressive from the start of the game to try and shake up the Wildcats.
Meridian (boys) 3
West Lauderdale 1
Meridian took control of the ball from the beginning with good play by Andrew Gambrell. Hank Holcomb along with Jay Barry made some close shots at goal to get the team fired up.
West Lauderdale's Josh Sank and Micheal Pogue played tough defensively. Also Anthony Thomas hustled hard to get the ball down field but Meridian's Deran Wilson slowed down the momentum.
Gambrell took some shots again at goal but his kicks sailed high. Barry was doubled teamed by Sonak and Pogue to force the Wildcats to lose possession.
Barry got the ball back his attempt came with the keeper out of the box he couldn't convert the score with just under 16:00 left in the first.
With 12:30 remaining Gambrell attempted his second corner kick. With the first one missing high his next one found Rush near the goal for the score. Meridian held on to end the 1st period up 1-0.
Rush started the second period scoring within the first 20 seconds. Peter Davidson provided the pretty pass that put the Wildcats up 2-0.
West didn't let up battling back with strong play by Thomas and Jay Joyner. Both kept the drive alive that ended on a assist by Maurice McDonald to Fountain that cut Meridian's lead to 2-1.
Meridian was able to continue to put pressure on the Knights. For West Lauderdale they didn't get to many opportunities to tie.
With under 10 minutes left Rush made his presence felt again and this time he was all alone. Rush broke away from the pack as the keeper was out of the box and the score was good.
Meridian (girls) 4
West Lauderdale 0
Meridian used a very strong passing game with great play coming from the defenders to keep West Lauderdale off balance for most of the night.
The Lady Wildcats jumped out with a score just into three minutes of play. Kortney Harris showed off her passing skills with a nice one to Catherine Bryan for the score of 1-0.
The Lady Knights got some spark from Sarah Birmingham and Wende Estes but Meridian's Raven Williams hung around to spoil the drive.
Meridian ended the first period by taking 11 shots at goal. Their defense played with enough intensity to keep the score 1-0 going into the half.
In the second half Baldner took command with 20:48 to make it a two-score game. Just two minutes later, Baldner went all the way again giving Lady Wildcats, 11-3, a comfortable lead over the Knights 3-0.
Meridian's last score came from Baldner with a great assist by Kirsten Grambrell with 5:51 left in the game.
The Lady Wildcats are now 11-3 overall and 2-1 in district play. The next game is against Columbus at the Jaycee Soccer Complex on Thursday December 19. They will also take part in the Christmas Tourney on December 30.