Clinton mercy rules East Bladen for first round win

Clinton’s Katey Yang boots the ball toward the middle of the field during first half action on Wednesday. Yang scored four goals in Clinton’s 11-0 shutout of East Bladen. Yang and the Lady Horses will host a second round game on Friday night at 6pm. To view more photos from this match, visit the sports section on (Mike Carter/Sampson Independent)

Clinton opened the 2A NCHSAA soccer playoffs against a familiar opponent in fellow Four County Conference foe East Bladen. Playing the Lady Eagles for the third time this season, the Lady Horses put on an offensive display, assaulting the Lady Eagles goal from every possible angle, sending East Bladen home at halftime with an 11-0 shutout win.

The Lady Eagles were able to hold off the Lady Horses for nearly six minutes before Reagan Barefoot found Katey Yang in front of the goal at 5:51. Yang slide a shot past the East Bladen goalie for the first of her four goals on the night. Yang wasted little time striking again when she took a pass from Halla Gilpin to score at the 7:42 mark. The tally remained 2-0 for nearly 23 minutes before Clinton’s Reagan Barefoot, assisted by Cory Spell, scored to give Clinton a 3-0 lead at 25:30. Katey Yang quickly added her third and fourth goals less than 30 seconds apart at 26:20 and 25:49, the first assisted by Halla Gilpin and the second off an assist by Cory Spell. Alaina Capps gave Clinton a 6-0 lead at 30:59 assisted by Halla Gilpin. Alaina Capps scored the seventh goal on a penalty kick after Katey Yang was fouled on a breakaway. Emily Valenti put the Lady Horses up 8-0 at the 33:49 mark assisted by Alaina Capps.

Halla Gilpin got a goal at 34:29 to go along with her three assists when she took and pass from Lauryn Worley widening the margin to 9-0. Alaina Capps got the hat trick with her third goal of the night at 36:30 assisted by Lauryn Worley. Grace Reagan capped off the scoring at the 38:28 mark assisted by Alaina Capps at 38:28 of the first half.

After the game, Clinton head coach Jeff Smith lauded his team’s performance, saying, “this is a good win for us, it gets us off on the right foot for the playoffs. Our second round opponent will be a test for us. We will get either the NC School of Science and Math or Northeastern and either one will be as tough an opponent as we have faced all season. The good news is that we get to play them at home and if we can get a win have a chance to go deep in the playoffs.”

The Lady Horses improve to 19-2-1 on the year and will host a second round playoff match on Friday night at 6pm.