HUNTINGTON, W. Va. — A non-traditional high school futbol night, and an out-of-state opponent in fact, did not deter the Minford Lady Falcons from completing a perfect week.
Following an 11-0 shutout over visiting and non-league South Point on Tuesday in which Minford senior standout forward Haley Knore notched her 100th career goal, and an 11-1 Southern Ohio Conference victory over visiting Northwest on Thursday, the Lady Falcons found the energy and the resolve necessary —to cross the state line and pitch another shutout.
This time, across the Ohio River for Friday night’s non-league contest, the victim was the Huntington St. Joseph Irish in West Virginia —as Lexi Conkel collected a hat trick in the Lady Falcons’ 3-0 win, which raised their stellar record to 10-1-0.
For the Lady Irish, it marked their second shutout home loss to an SOC squad —as the other was Wheelersburg 2-0 a month earlier.
Conkel, per Minford coach Shane Tieman, was credited with the Lady Falcons’ first goal —only three minutes in and a hot shot that was too strong for St. Joseph goalkeeper Ramey George.
Ava Cronin finished that shot off for good measure, as Tieman told The Portsmouth Daily Times it dribbled across the goal line — with Conkel’s foot the final offensive touch.
“We credited Lexi with the official goal, but great play by both ladies to ensure it counted,” said the coach.
As it turned out, one goal was all it took for the Lady Falcons to earn the win.
Conkel’s second marker was assisted by Kathy Essman —a long shot from outside the 18 box, as Conkel kicked it in backside corner with 19:25 to play in the opening half.
Finally, with only 2:45 remaining, Minford made yet another goal off a corner kick —as Mychal Cron’s kick sailed to Conkel, who headed it in for the 3-0 final.
George saved 13 shots for the Lady Irish, as Minford’s Nevaeh Porter had a relatively easy night in net —only stopping two shots.
On paper, this matchup made for the perfect “gotcha” match against the Lady Falcons, but Tieman simply said “my players came to play.”
“I was worried about this game. Third one of the week, out of state game, and on a Friday night which is very rare. Had the makings of a trap game as Huntington St. Joe was a solid team. But we played the best technical and tactical game I have seen us play. Lots of diagonal runs, passing to feet, good first touches. Overlaps, great crossing and negative balls. Phenomenal job by every player,” said Tieman. “The defense did a phenomenal job holding Maren Muth in check. Her speed dribbling the ball with full control is faster that most players can even run. Good communication by our midfield and defensive backs to keep her in check. Everyone performed their role against a very physical team. Everything just worked tonight.”
In the win over South Point, Conkel had another hat trick, while Cron collected two unassisted goals and four assists.
Knore’s 99th career goal came with 17 seconds remaining in the opening half, as Cron assisted her on her 100th —with 32:15 to play.
Knore assisted on Conkel’s second score, with 34 minutes to play —and the opening of six second-half goals.
In the 10-goal win over Northwest, the Lady Falcons did all of their scoring from the 34:41 mark of the opening half to with 24 minutes to go.
Conkel had four goals, Knore netted a hat trick including the club’s opening and closing goals which were both unassisted, Cronin had a pair of counters, and Cron and Sadie Hatfield had one goal apiece.
Hatfield’s marker, with three minutes left in the first half, made it 7-0.
Already with a 2-0 lead, and in less than a minute apart, Conkel assisted on Knore’s second goal —as Knore returned the favor only 48 seconds later.
The first three second-half goals were assisted by Essman, Cron and Cronin.
Northwest’s Sabrina Breech bagged the only Lady Mohawk goal —coming unassisted with 7:42 left in the first half.
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