FLATWOODS Four years ago, Lafayette girls soccer coach Taylor Roden inherited a program coming off a 1-19 season while being outscored 90-4.
The Generals are nobody’s pushover these days.
Junior forward Kristin Gamble notched her second consecutive hat trick and Lafayette pulled away from Russell 6-1 on Saturday afternoon.
“I was very happy with the passing,” Roden said after her team’s fourth win in five games. “We have a phrase: ‘Keep the ball moving, be patient and let the ball do the work.’”
The Lexington team carried it out impressively, linking passes all over Russell Soccer Complex. The Generals rolled up a 30-1 advantage in shots on goal against the team with three consecutive state Elite Eight finishes.
Russell coach John Perry scheduled the matchup as an early measuring stick for his team.
“We like the competition,” Perry said. “I’ve said it a few times, sometimes you have to take your lickings to get better. We appreciate Lafayette coming.”
Gamble scored twice in just over eight minutes to start the second half, extending Lafayette’s lead to 4-1. She said there was plenty of credit to go around in the victory.
“I definitely think it was a full team thing,” Gamble said. “Right after games we usually do shout-outs for players. We just played today as a big team. We try to connect through the middle and go out wide.”
Lafayette graduated 26-goal scorer Brenna Wallin, but Gamble and junior Ella Abraham are stepping up early to fill the void. Gamble bumped her goal total to eight. Abraham supplied three assists Saturday after finding the net three times in earlier games.
Fiona Ferrer also showed her ability in the Generals’ latest win. The senior scored twice and set up Gamble’s third goal of the day.
“Team building,” Gamble said of Lafayette’s focus. “Get everyone involved.“
Four-year starter Susannah Starkey anchors the back line for Lafayette.
“She’s probably one of the most underrated defenders in Lexington,“ Roden said. “Susannah’s very solid. She’s my commander and general.”
The Generals opened the season by winning two of three games in the Fayette County Soccer Spectacular. The only defeat was a 2-1 battle against now 6-0 district foe Tates Creek.
“We’re in one of the hardest districts in the state,” Gamble said. “Making the trip today was a great experience. Coming over, we talked about Russell going to the Elite Eight and having that close loss (1-0) to West Jessamine.”
Gamble scored in the 13th minute off a pass from Abraham. Sarah Hall — another junior — made it 2-0 and Russell responded with Lena Blanke’s penalty kick in the 25th minute.
“I thought we played a good first half,” Perry said. “We came out a little flat the second half. I think we need to find a little self-motivation at times, a little resiliency.”
Russell (2-2) played without sophomore forward/midfielder Kyndall Duvall, who tore an ACL against Greenup County on Thursday. Blanke tweaked her ankle Saturday.
“But I don’t want to take anything away from Lafayette,” Perry said. “They are a good team and played well.”
The high school season is only two weeks old and Perry said Russell has improvements to make.
“There’s too much dependency on two or three players,” he said. “We have to have exceptional work ratio across the pitch, or we’re going to have a lot of second halves like today. It’s still early. We will get it ironed out and be there for the postseason.”
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