Oak Grove soccer beats rival Ledford

Apr. 16—WALLBURG — Oak Grove put the pressure on from the start. And it never let up.

The Grizzlies, controlling the ball well, took the lead midway through the first half, extended their lead with a flurry of scores just before halftime and pulled away in the second half to beat rival Ledford 6-0 in Mid-Piedmont 3A Conference girls soccer Monday at Ledford.

"We've been working on taking control, and we did a good job with that tonight," Oak Grove coach Kristin Bethard said. "Our high press is pretty aggressive. When we do it right, it works pretty well."

Victoria Lockamy scored three goals and dished one assist to lead the Grizzlies (5-4-1 overall, 2-1 conference), who have won five of their last seven matches — tying the Forsyth Home Educators in mid-March and falling to North Davidson last week.

Katherine Lockamy added a goal and an assist. Ella Blizard and Emmy Baab each scored a goal, while Mallie Blizard and Kyrstin Varner each had an assist as Oak Grove, which had several players still involved with basketball as the soccer season began, has started to find its stride in recent weeks.

"Once we've gotten our chemistry as a team, we've really grown and we're working really well together," said Victoria Lockamy, a freshman forward.

The Grizzlies jumped ahead on a pair of strikes by the Lockamy sisters. Victoria took a pass from Katherine in the middle and ripped a mid-range shot in the 14th minute. Katherine then ran onto a pass from Victoria up the left side, eluded the defense and scored in the 30th minute.

Ella Blizard lofted a free kick from distance just beyond the goalkeeper's reach in the 37th minute, and Victoria Lockamy took a pass from Mallie Blizard near the top of the penalty area and squeezed a shot past the goalkeeper in the 40th minute to give Oak Grove a 4-0 advantage into halftime.

"We had great offensive possession," Victoria Lockamy said. "It was combining from our backs through our midfield and up to our forwards and turning them into shots."

Victoria Lockamy added her third goal of the evening in the 51st minute, when she won a contested ball upfield, stepped and scored. Baab netted the final score in the 69th minute off a rebound following a shot by Varner that was initially stopped but found Baab along the far post for an open shot.

"It's hard to beat that twin telepathy — it really is," Bethard said with a smile. "When you've got Mallie and Ella Blizard in the middle together, it's phenomenal passing and great aggressiveness and they've a great shot on goal too. There's been a lot to capitalize on."

The Panthers (7-4-2, 2-1), who lost for the first time in five matches, had moments when they surged forward and created offensive chances. But they couldn't quite piece together enough to find the net and really threaten the Grizzlies, who moved into a second-place tie with Ledford behind North.

Sanna Simpson finished with six saves in goal for the Panthers, while Carmen DiFoggio made two saves for Oak Grove as the Grizzlies finished with a 17-5 advantage in shots for the match.

"It's very tough (to get things turned around)," Ledford coach Apryl Holbert said. "But that's one thing you have to teach in high school — how do you recover from that? Once that third goal went in, I think it was a little harder to see. We had to reset at halftime, and we came back out and played much better in the second half. We came back, but we just couldn't put it in the back of the net."

Both teams will continue MPC play Wednesday — Oak Grove will host Montgomery Central, while Ledford will travel to Asheboro. The Grizzlies will step outside the conference Thursday when they visit county foe East Davidson.