WEST JEFFERSON — Ashe County advanced to the second round of the 2A state playoffs with a 5-1 victory over Shelby on Wednesday.
“I was very pleased with how we played tonight. I don’t think Shelby’s record was indicative of how good a team that they were,” said Ashe County head coach Wes Rousseau. “They played some very good teams really close this year and beat a couple of good teams as well.”
Emma Calloway scored the first goal of the contest and then Bekah Bowers followed that up with a penalty kick to give Ashe an early 2-0 lead.
“Scoring early is always important and we were able to take the life out of them in the first half,” said Rousseau.
Junior Melissa Ramos added a goal with a little over a minute left in the first half to take a 3-0 lead.
In the second half, Ramos scored again in the 45th minute and then senior Alyssa Peterson got Ashe’s final goal of the evening in the 48th minute to push the lead to 5-0.
The Lady Huskies had a pair of corner kick chances in the 52nd and 55th minutes, and then again in the 62nd and 63rd minutes.
Shelby was able to avoid the shutout, scoring on a penalty kick from Liana Stachowicz, a reigning 2015 all-state player, with eight minutes left in the game.
Ashe easily handled the final eight minutes of play to secure the playoff win.
“I thought we defended well, as we always do, but the difference tonight was our finishing,” said Rousseau. “We did a really really good job in and around the net putting the ball home.”
Rousseau also complimented the play of freshman Sam Woods who was man marking Stachowicz for almost the entire game.
“Sam did an exceptional job. She took her (Stachowicz) completely out of the game,” Rousseau said.
The Lady Huskies will now head to eighth seeded Franklin on Friday evening. The game will be played at Macon Middle School. Franklin (13-4) moved to the second round following an 8-0 win over Lexington on Wednesday.
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-489-3062 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87