Generally speaking, calling your shot is a bad idea. If, for whatever reason, you fail to deliver on what you promised, opinions tend to be less than favorable. Monday night in the Ripley boys’ 6-0 loss to Mason County, Royals sophomore goalkeeper Russ Gifford delivered.
Gifford held the Blue Jays scoreless over their 80 minute contest, just as he said he would before the game started. Ripley had chances throughout the contest, but couldn’t convert any of them into goals. On the other side of the field, however, Mason County had little trouble converting anything into goals, scoring 14 minutes into the match. Sophomore Chase Stafford flicked a pass to a sliding freshman Ryan Mitchell, who converted his team’s first goal. Mitchell would score again in the contest and has had two hat tricks in the team’s first five games.
Mason County led 2-0 at halftime and tallied four more goals in the second half. Whenever the Blue Jays had a chance to score a goal, the Royals defense was able to get a defender in between the ball and the goal. During the few instances the defense couldn’t step up for Mason County, Gifford did, and the shutout was his goal from the start of the game.
“I went [to Ripley] from kindergarten through third grade and I’ve played on this field a lot,” Gifford said. “My only goal tonight was to not let them score.”
Head coach Amber Dudley said her team did not spend much practice time on converting their chances but that would change soon.
“We’re low on numbers and people get tired but I think we had ample opportunities and we just couldn’t convert anything,” Dudley said. “That’s one thing we haven’t practiced. We’re trying to focus on defense because we lost our whole defensive line from last year so people who normally play offense are trying to play defense so we’re focusing on that. It probably didn’t show tonight.”
The Lady Jays scored seven goals in their 6-1 win over Mason County. The team jumped out to 1-0 lead early in the contest thanks to a breakaway goal just 12 minutes into the game and led 2-0 at halftime.
After the break, Ripley scored four more goals, five if you count the own goal attributed to junior Payton Whitt. Mason County attempted a cross in the box that hit Whitt and bounced into the goal. It didn’t matter, however, as the Lady Jays won 6-1.
Junior Bailey Adams scored three goals while teammate Alexandra Carrizalez had a pair. Alexis Conley also scored for Ripley, who needed an offensive outburst like this one, according to head coach Marty Adams.
“We’ve been struggling offensively so to get an ouburst like this helps confidence-wise,” Adams said. “We’ve got some girls who can score, we just haven’t done it. It’s key to take advantage of the opportunities we’re given, and we got a couple lucky ones tonight too, but anything helps bust that balloon so you can start putting more in.”
Adams also noted he was able to rotate players on defense, which kept the Lady Jays fresh despite heat that forced a water break midway through the first half.
“Some of our better offensive players are back there on the defense,” Adams said. “Some of our toughest kids are back there and they play with all heart all the time. I’ve got a decent rotation to where I can bring in a couple girls back in.”