WATSON – Powered by a four-goal performance from senior Mackenzie Covington, Live Oak downed Central 6-0 on Monday at LOHS’ Eagle Stadium.
The contest featured a pair of former district rivals, with both teams having moved up to Division I this season, but into different districts.
Covington opened the scoring early in the 10th minute when Emma Ross’ shot was blocked by the Central keeper but not cleared away.
Covington was there to redirect the deflection from close range. She picked up her second goal in the 29th minute when Kylie Zeller hit a perfect cross that landed at Covington’s feet in front of the goal.
“I got very lucky with the first two goals,” Covington said. “I hit the first one off my chest and the second one bounced high into my legs. I was just standing there, and it went into the goal.”
Zeller herself scored a goal on the other side of halftime when she made a long run into the box before sliding the ball across the keeper’s face and into the near post to give the Eagles (3-0-0) a three-goal lead.
About five minutes later Covington sealed up the hat trick with two goals less than a minute apart. The first goal came when a deflection off Alexis Venable failed to be clear, allowing for a tap. The second came when a Wildcat defender didn’t press Covington well in the box, allowing her to switch possession and take a close-range shot.
There might have been a degree of luck to her goals, but the production from the senior is what second-year coach Kraig Zeller was counting on after he lost Alicia Carlos and Maddie Harrouch to graduation.
“She’s a player that we really need to rely on this year having some of the players that we lost last year,” Zeller said. “She’s had to step up. So far, she’s done well. She’s got three or four girls around her who are very competitive and can play with her.”
Said Covington: “Coach (Zeller) expects a lot from me since I’m the only senior up top.”
Jenna Magee scored in the 60th minute when she ripped off a shot from the top of the box to make it 6-0 Live Oak.
Live Oak finished with 22 shots, but only placed 10 of them on goal.
“Right now, we have a real problem with finishing,” Zeller said. “The score showed you six (goals), we should have had a lot more than that. That’s something we have to work on in practice, our finishing.”
Central (1-3-1) finished with only three shots, with only one landing inside the frame. For a team who fields just six returning players, four of which are returning starters, Central coach Victoria Eskola sees value in the loss as a potential learning experience.
“We’re just young and we have a lot of things we need to clean up and fix some mistakes,” Eskola said. “I’m not saying that we could have won but we had a lot of good opportunities, but we just couldn’t finish. That’s just how it goes. Hopefully it’s just a lesson we can build on.”