McDERMOTT — This contest had all the makings of a repeat finish.
Until the end of the first half, that is.
Just as their first meeting in West Portsmouth, Northwest and West’s girls soccer programs neared the end of the first half tied 0-0.
That changed quickly when an Ellie Curtis penalty-kick goal with less than a minute to play broke the scoring open for Northwest — and Curtis herself.
From there, Curtis went on to add to her already-established single-season goal-scoring record with a four-goal performance — one to end the first half and three to start the second — as the Lady Mohawks bested the visiting Lady Senators 6-0 in Southern Ohio Conference Division II play.
First-year Lady Mohawks coach Mollie King said it was her team’s increased efficiency with its passes that swung the result in its favor — for its third win in the last 15 days.
“They passed so much better,” King said of her team’s performance this go-around. “They were finding the diagonal passes, the through-balls. They moved a lot better than we did the last time — and they finished. That was a big key too — finishing our goals, finishing our shots.”
Those which remember the first meeting of the season at West remember Curtis’ late-game heroics, scoring the Lady Mohawks’ lone goal in the final five minutes to draw with the Lady Senators for the first time since 2017.
Curtis’ heroics frankly came much earlier in Thursday’s win — as the senior Lady Mohawk scored her 22nd, 23rd and 24th goals of the 2020 season to begin the final 40 minutes and extend Northwest’s lead to 4-0 by the 24:23 mark.
“We were definitely sluggish in the first half,” Curtis said. “But once we got the PK, everyone gained more confidence and we were able to get the game faster. We passed the ball a lot better in the second half and everyone started getting more shots.”
“Once we got that PK in, our girls settled in more and started to pass much better,” King said. “West came out in the first half ready to beat us to every ball. Luckily, once we slowed down and were able to get that first goal, that’s when our momentum started and we were able to run away with it.”
Northwest junior Katie Evans scored with 14 minutes left in the contest, giving the Lady Mohawks a 5-0 lead.
Jasmine Bowen made it 6-0 Northwest with six minutes left with a goal of her own, sealing the game in its favor and improving its record to 4-8-1.
Northwest has fared rather well inside the confines of Roy Rogers Field this season, but on the road is where the majority of the slip-ups have come.
With Thursday’s league win over West, the Lady Mohawks’ home record improves to 4-3, while their road record remains 0-5-1.
Northwest may be required to travel for its opening Division III sectional match — with postseason seeding set to come out for Southeast District teams on Sunday.
With that in mind, both King and Curtis relayed their focus ahead of tournament play is on continuing to pass well and in continuing to build their own confidence.
“We’ve just got to keep with this momentum and make sure that we continue to improve our passes and movements, play off the ball,” King said. “Now that we’re getting these wins, I think that’ll give us a big confidence boost heading into tournament.”
“I think if we all just keep believing in ourselves and gaining confidence we can get more wins,” Curtis said. “Sometimes we have trouble getting down on ourselves because we get down in the second half and can’t get back, but I think if we keep working hard we’ll be able to compete with anyone we face.”
Northwest is back in action on Tuesday in SOC II play, when it will host league leader — and outright division champion — Waverly.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved