Three different players found the back of the net as the Wetumpka girls soccer team grabbed its first victory of the year with a 4-0 win over Elmore County on Thursday night. Wetumpka goalkeeper Jeweliana Holton finished the match with six saves for her second clean sheet in the last three games.
“She’s doing great right now and she’s only in seventh grade,” Wetumpka coach Jessica Holbert said. “We were torn between two but Jeweliana had more experience in goal. She has surprised me and done even better than what I expected.”
Holton did not see much action in the first half as Wetumpka dominated possession in the first 40 minutes of the match. The Indians had several chances early and found the back of the net in the 17th minute to take the lead.
Marley Candelaria swung in a free kick from 35 yards out and Emily Smith found herself on the end of it. Smith poked the ball past the keeper to put Wetumpka in front for good.
The Indians (1-1-3) were benefitted by an Elmore County own goal in the 23rd minute after a shot from Ellen Anne Singleton was deflected past the goalie. Madyson Jost scored Wetumpka’s third goal of the night with a shot from 30 yards out with under seven minutes to go in the first half.
“In the last few games we’ve had, that’s something we have needed,” Holbert said. “When those outside shots fall, sometimes you’re able to open up the inside. That was nice to see.”
Elmore County (0-5-0) came out of the halftime break with more energy. The Panthers had four shots saved by Holton in the first 15 minutes of the second half.
“We made some adjustments at halftime,” Elmore County coach Angie Simmons said. “We pushed Joya (Kiwele) up into the midfield and she got the ball forward more. And we had a conversation with our defense to push up the field more and that helped a lot.”
Raney Jones was the biggest threat going forward for the Panthers. She had four shots on goal in the game, including two in a span of 45 seconds in the 49th minute to force big saves from Holton.
“She is really good but she’s out there trying to do everything on the field,” Simmons said of Jones. “She’s a strong competitor and that’s a good thing. She can play anywhere but she has to learn to play the position we have her in.”
Wetumpka added its fourth goal of the night in the 57th minute when an Elmore County defender blocked an incoming cross, deflecting it outside of the box. Grayson Singleton took the shot first time from 25 yards and put it over the goalkeeper’s head to put a cap on Wetumpka’s 4-0 win.
Wetumpka will be back in action at home Thursday night against Pike Road before starting area play against Stanhope Elmore on Saturday. Holbert said she believes the win over Elmore County can propel the Indians forward.
“I think this is going to help a lot. We haven’t been playing well together a lot,” Holbert said. “We get experience with each game and that’s why I knew we needed to play this game. We wanted more playing time.”
Elmore County has yet to find the back of the net this season but Simmons said there were still a lot of positives from Thursday night’s loss.
The Panthers have now started area
play and will need to find a solution to their attacking play soon.
“We have to take moral victories with the record we have right now,” Simmons said. “With the team as young as they are, we have to take those positives and show the girls what they’re doing well. The score didn’t show it but we all saw improvement.”