By MICHAEL S. ADAMS
H-P Sports Writer
Palestine’s Rebekah Gold left last season as the leading scorer as a freshman. In her first game as a sophomore, Gold picked up right were she left off.
Gold scored her first of three goals in 23 seconds as the Ladycats defeated Center 12-0 Thursday night to open the East Texas Shootout at Wildcat Stadium.
“Rebekah proved herself last year and she is just a natural leader on the field even though she is only a sophomore,” Palestine head coach Stephen Cooksey said.
Gold and freshman Shelby Alvarez both recorded hat tricks Thursday, one of many firsts for the East Texas Shootout and the Palestine girls’ soccer program.
Both players had hat tricks by the end of the first half, with Gold getting hers in the first 20 minutes of the game. Gold had three goals and an assist while Alvarez finished the game with a game-high four goals and an assist on Gold’s third goal of the game.
“I was looking for Shelby to have a break out game,” Cooksey said. “With her club team she is more of a passer than a shooter. She is getting into the groove of being a player who is trying to score.”
Palestine’s 12 goals Thursday set a program record for most goals scored in a game and a tournament record. Gold and Alvarez’s hat tricks was the first time two players recorded hat tricks in a single game for the Palestine Ladycat soccer program.
Gold’s goal in 23 seconds was the fastest goal ever scored in the history of the program.
“There was a lot of firsts for me tonight,” Cooksey said. “We looked pretty good and had good ball distribution and improved on our communication.”
Palestine got on the board quickly after Gold’s penalty kick goal. In the seventh minute, Gold got an assist from Amber Almanza from the left side of the penalty box to make the game 2-0.
Alvarez scored back-to-back goals within one minute of each other to put the game at 4-0 in the first 15 minutes.
Gold completed her hat trick at the 21st minute when she took a pass from Alvarez and put it in the left upper side of the net.
Captain Alex Snyder got into the scoring party at the 31st minute from a pass from Almanza to put the game at 6-0.
Sophomore Courtney Harris picked up her first of two goals at the 33-minute mark wile Alvarez completed her hat trick one minute later. The Ladycats led 9-0 at halftime.
Palestine took 28 shots on the goal in the first half and held Center to no shots taken on goalkeeper Anna-Leea Reddoch.
“I am pretty fortunate to have four fast defenders who have strong legs,” Cooksey said. “We went to a new system defensively and went man-to-man and they did a good job with that tonight.”
With the game out of reach at the start of the second half, Cooksey moved Reddoch to forward and moved Harris into goal.
Harris had an easy day’s work as Center was blanked with no shots taken in the second half.
Senior Hannah Steffan got her first goal of the season at the three-minute mark and Alvarez got her fourth goal at the 14-minute mark on a corner kick to make the score 11-0.
Junior Lacy Knight ended the scoring rout in the 25th minute after her shot was mishandled by the goalkeeper.
Palestine took a total 35 shots on goal for the entire game and won seven corner kicks to Center’s one.
The Ladycats will play Hudson today at 5 p.m. at Wildcat Stadium.
Michael S. Adams may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
By MICHAEL S. ADAMS
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