Shutout, conference win, early-season challenge – Wednesday couldn’t have gone much better for Polk County’s girls soccer team.
Caroline Lee and Miriam Santibanez scored goals to lead the Wolverines to a 2-0 win over Madison in its Western Highlands Conference opener in a soggy Wolverine Stadium.
An improved Madison squad (2-1-1, 0-1) tested the Wolverines throughout the game and battled Polk County (2-0, 1-0) evenly throughout the first half until Lee scored on a header six minutes before intermission, giving Polk a 1-0 lead. Santibanez then tallied in the first 10 minutes of the second half, taking a pass from Megan Clements and scoring off her first touch of the ball to give the Wolverines some breathing room.
“Madison is definitely better than they were last year,” said Polk County head coach Lennox Charles. “It’s good to get our first one in conference. We had nine seniors and six who started, so we’re still feeling our way out a bit.
“It was nice for us to get that win and be put under some pressure and have to respond.”
Three of those six departed starters played in the Wolverines’ defensive back, with Scarlett Mosseller the lone returnee. Midfielder Rhian Alley has moved to sweeper and helped returning goalkeeper Kara Overholt keep the Patriots scoreless, though Madison did miss a golden opportunity to score with six minutes left when a crossing pass from the left wing rolled across the front of the goal, but found no one there to convert.
“We’re still a little shaky at times, but consider we have three new people back there,” Charles said. “We’re still having to feel our way around out there. For us to be successful, we’re going to have to have another good year from Kara.
“We did a really good job moving the ball around, though we could have done better at times. It’s just good to come out and get this win.”
Polk County will return to action Thursday, facing Crest in the Burns Showcase in a match originally set for Saturday. The Polk County junior varsity will also take part in the showcase, facing the host Bulldogs.