By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
The Lady Patriots came into the season with some very specific goals.
And so far, they’ve been extremely successful reaching almost all of those objectives.
“We wanted to break the losing streak,” Model coach Michael Bailey said. “Another goal was to not to get mercy-ruled by anybody. The third goal was to try to win more than one (game) and the fourth goal was to win a district game.”
The Lady Patriots (5-7-1) didn’t win a game last season, but took another big stride forward Monday in Berea. Model got a pair of second-half goals and defeated Berea Community, 2-0.
The win was the first district victory for Model since 2009.
“Getting a district win is just really big for our program,” Bailey said.
For a team that had a 0-17 record last season and scored only six goals the entire year, the turnaround has been nothing less than remarkable.
The Lady Patriots have won three of their past four games and have posted shutouts in five of their 13 games.
The win gives Model the No. 3 seed in the district tournament and sets up a meeting with Madison Southern in the semifinals.
Berea (6-8) will be the No. 4 seed and will face Madison Central in the semifinals.
The Lady Pirates got several good scoring chances late in the first half. Senior Taylor Powell was twice stopped on quality opportunities by Model keeper Hayley Hunt and game was scoreless at half.
Model got on the board early in the second half.
Ruby Smith took a free kick from just outside the box and ripped a shot past a wall of defenders and into the left corner of the net.
“Ruby is our go-to girl,” Bailey said. “She is the one we expect to take those shots. I think she is starting to believe in herself.”
Less than a minute later (29:02), Madison Bellardine slipped a past across to Linda Yoder, who beat Berea keeper Holly Musick.
The Lady Pirates battled back, but couldn’t get a shot past Hunt.
Izzy Whatley had a pair of strong shots turned away. Hunt also made a good save off a free kick with about 11 minutes left.
“They attacked,” Bailey said. “That’s two even teams going at it.”
Model dropped Smith back to defense and used two sweepers in the final minutes. Hunt made the lead stand up, posting her third shutout in the past five games.
“She’s just out of this world,” Bailey said of Hunt.
Model is set to return to action Wednesday at Western Hills.
Berea is set to return to action today at Whitley County.