by Hayley Younginer, Madison Metts, Robin Hendricks

Players shouting, whistles blowing, cards flying and the cheer of the crowd hangs in the air as the Dutch Fork girls varsity soccer team beats its long-time rival, the Lexington Wildcats.

Tuesday night, April 1, the Dutch Fork girls team took on its biggest competition for their region–Lexington High School.

After tying in region last year, both teams had the mentality to go into this game as if it were the region championship.

“It’s always good to beat Lexington since they’re one of the best teams in the region and have been for awhile,” senior Abby DeMare said.

           As the two top teams in region played one another, the odds were unknown.

           “They’re our rivals because we have a very close record with one another so we knew it would be a tough game,” senior Madison Salters said.

The game was very physical, resulting in two yellow cards given to opposing players.

“I think that they deserve way more yellow cards because they were playing the player, not the ball,” junior Haley Owens said. “One Lexington player took our player out even after the play was over.”

           Along with physical fitness, mental fitness is key for players on the field.

           “Our strong points are our determination, technical ability and speed,” Madison said.

The strengths of Dutch Fork overcame the strengths of the Lexington soccer team, such as its power in the center of the field with Haley Naughton.

“We beat them because we are a stronger team and create more opportunities to score,” sophomore Carson Markland said. “We possessed the ball better and finished our chances.” Lexington also decided to take on a man-marking tactic during the second half in order to slow down Dutch Fork’s offense.

This man marking tactic means that Lexington’s defense started stepping to players instead of marking their space, making it easier for Dutch Fork’s offense to kick and combine around them in order to get behind them and go to goal.

“The man marking tactic didn’t work out very well because it caused [Lexington] to only be focused on one player instead of focusing on the style of play we had which gave us the upper hand,” Haley said.

Having lost to Lexington once last year, the Dutch Fork team will strive to keep that number at a zero this season.

“This [our win] shows our growth as a team because we beat a big rival which shows that our team is coming together and getting to here we need to be,” Carson said.

           As the final whistle blew, calling the game, both players and fans looked at the scoreboard to see a final of 2-0. This win placed Dutch Fork at first in their region early in the season.

           “As a team we maintained our composure despite any controversy going on in the game,” Abby said. “It’s great to win in that way.”