Lady Maroons' offense hot

Contributed photo

Keely Ashby dribbles the ball during the team’s season opener against Webster County on Aug. 14. The Madisonville-North Hopkins girls’ soccer team has revolutionized its offense, going from 1.84 goals per game last year to 3.14 goals per game this year. Leading the way is Ashby, who led the team with just six goals last year and is once again leading the team with 13 this year.

The Madisonville-North Hopkins girls’ soccer team has seen an uptick in offensive production in John Tichenor’s first season as head coach.

The Lady Maroons (6-4-4) have scored 44 goals, which is nine more than they scored all of last season. They still have four games left to add to that mark.

Last season, North didn’t have a player score double-digit goals. This season, junior Keely Ashby and senior Maggie Holmes have 13 and 10 goals, respectively.

In addition to finishing better, the Lady maroons have capitalized on improved passing.

“Without someone feeding them the ball, they aren’t going to get their chances,” Tichenor said. “If you can just connect three or four passes, something good will open up for you.”

North has 30 assists this season, five more than it totaled last year. Junior Kaylen Young’s seven assists lead the way.

Tichenor said another area of improvement has been on corner kicks, with an emphasis on heading the ball.

“We went into camp, and we had girls that just wouldn’t head the ball,” Tichenor said. “This year, we got girls that are actually willing to head the ball.”

Tichenor stresses the fundamentals, with movement critical.

“We’re trying to instill in them the importance of moving off the ball, not just standing watching a pass,” Tichenor said.

Tichenor has also emphasized a team mindset.

“Just because they don’t have the ball at their feet, we’re trying to get them to be smarter players and think what they can do to help their teammates,” he said.

Tichenor has been proud of how his team has competed this season. With the exception of a poor showing against Daviess County, he said the Lady Maroons have battled every opponent, with two of their four losses by one goal.

North’s fortunes have also been aided by a much-improved defensive effort. After surrendering 32 goals a year ago, the Lady Maroons have allowed just 19 this season, which is tied for fewest allowed by teams in the 2nd Region.

“It’s a process,” Tichenor said, “and we’re making strides.”

The Lady Maroons have three games remaining in the regular season, all at home. They play Muhlenberg County at 7 p.m. today, followed by University Heights on Oct. 2 and Trigg County on Oct. 5.

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