Thomasville overcame a slow first half start and netted three goals in the final period on Friday to oust Harlem and advance to the second round of the AA state tournament.
The Lady ‘Dogs, who missed roughly six to eight attempts in the opening half, scored twice in the first ten minutes of the second period to take a 2-1 lead.
Ciera McGriff netted Thomasville’s first two goals, one of which was by virtue of an assist from Daniella Pistelli. Zombria Morrow posted the Lady ‘Dogs final score in the 60th minute, then Thomasville held Harlem scoreless the rest of the way.
“I told [the team] at halftime that we weren’t finished,” THS girls coach Martha Murray said. “We just encouraged the girls to play our game – the possession game – and work the ball around.”
Thomasville retained possession for the bulk of the evening despite its scoreless first half. Harlem presented a strong defense, particularly given that the Lady ‘Dogs hadn’t played since their 2-0 season finale loss to Cairo on April 22.
The opportunities were there, Murray said, but the team had struggled to capitalize early.
“We couldn’t finish,” the coach said. “A lot of our shots were right at the keeper. We knew if we just got that first score that it would open up.”
Given the swampy conditions the area has endured this week, splitting time with the boys’ team and upcoming final exams, the Lady ‘Dogs hadn’t conducted an outdoor practice in days.
“We weren’t really sure what we were getting into,” Murray said of Thomasville’s 10 day hiatus. “It took us a while to get going.”
THS will host a second round game next Wednesday against the Putnam-Long winner.
Murray said the Lady ‘Dogs will conduct light practices next week given the multitude of other obligations players have.
“We’ve got AP exams, cheerleading tryouts and a lot of other stuff pulling at the girls,” Murray said. “We won’t hold them real long, but we’ll keep the morale and confidence up to keep everyone on the same page.”