Last Updated: Apr 27th, 2015 - 11:04:56

Lady Royals Impress With Scoring Touch
By David Breidenbach, Correspondent
Mar 28, 2014, 07:19

David Breidenbach/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
COLONIAL HEIGHTS—Watch out for the Royals girls soccer team this season.

If Thursday night’s 7-0 demolishing of the Colonials is any indication, Royals soccer fans are in for a treat. While it’s a little early in the season to pour on such accolades, in their first game of the season the Royals took ten minutes to get things in gear.

In gear for the Royals amounts to the top getting things going on offense. Strikers Jo Jo Taylor and Sarah Tinker took just a few minutes in the early going to get their games in sync. Despite not having a game in two weeks, and practices being spotty and in the gym, it didn’t take the team long to figure out how to score. In about the 10th minute, Amanda Belcher picked up a cross in front of the Colonials net and popped it in for a 1-0 lead. A few minutes later Taylor doubled the lead to 2-nil. An unfortunate handling penalty in the box led to the first of Tinker’s four goals on the night as she cleanly sliced the PK into the right corner of the netting.

“We’ve been working on Sarah and Jo working together up top. For the first 10 minutes they played individually, but then they started to communicate and find each other on the field and bang-bang, we score two goals. The PK was a gift,” Prince George Coach Kendall Warren said.

The Royals also got another gift, in terms of returning players. Tinker, a sophomore, recently moved back to the area. In a four-minute span about 15 minutes into the second half, she scored three goals to put the game away.

“I didn’t expect to score all those goals, but I was hoping they would go in,” Tinker said.

Tinker took a lead from Taylor for a shot in the middle of the penalty box for the first of the three goals; then she got another feed down the right sideline and hooked a screamer to the near post that bounced in off the Colonials’ goal keeper. Minutes later, the Royals were awarded a free kick from about 35 yards out on the left side. Tinker hit a low rising drive that caught the top of the net for her third goal.

“She was here in eighth grade and dad transferred to Hawaii and then they transferred back. She’s a sophomore and I think she’s here two more years,” Warren said about his scoring phenom.

Taylor scored the seventh goal for the Royals a few minutes later, and after that Warren pulled his two strikers and played the rest of the match at nil. By then, however, the damage was done and they relied on the play of his defense to carry the game.

The Royals have a bunch of new players on the field, especially on defense. In addition to the change in personnel, Warren said he shifted to a flat-back four. The flat-back style of defense depends on speed and solid individual play. The defenders have to make decisions in concert with their team mates, and there is a significant amount of overlapping. The Royals “D” played very well, especially after Warren subbed in his two back-up strikers and the ball was played more midfield and in the defensive third.

“Our center backs Courtney (Taylor) and Kaleigh (O’Keefe) were fantastic. But the whole defense played well, Chaelin Magruder, Serena Triscari, and Rochelle Rawls all contributed on defense,” Warren said.

The Colonials were playing without Mia Heydet their best scorer, who is out due to illness. Some of their other players are also injured, Colonials Coach Mark Lee said. But in this game, he said, the score was an indication of just how good the Royals are this season.

“They are just a better team than we are. They play well, they are coached well, and the score showed that,” he said.

Prince George 3 4 – 7
Colonial Heights 0 0 – 0
PG: Belcher, J. Taylor 2, Tinker 4

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