Pelham girls start season 2-0

Published 4:18 pm Thursday, February 14, 2019

By SETH HAGAN | For the Reporter

PELHAM – The Pelham Panthers hosted county opponent Clay-Chalkville on a cold evening, but heated up easily to take the win, 6-0, on Wednesday, Feb 13.

It’s the Panthers second dominant win in a row to start their 2019 campaign featuring another brilliant performance from forward Michelle Hernandez.

Pelham (2-0) wasted no time scoring three times in the game’s first 10 minutes, as Hernandez scored in the fourth and seventh minute on fast breaks that left her one-on-one with the goalie.

The shots varied in their speed, but both found the right side of the net for an early 2-0 lead.

“She brings a confidence level up top, she’s always hungry to score more goals,” said Pelham head coach Brittany Pollard. “Day in and day out she works her tail off at practice and so far, she’s exceeding expectations for us.”

The Panthers controlled the possession game and looked for transition opportunities early and often. The defense played the unsung hero, as Calera had limited chances to spring their offense.

The match’s third goal was a thing of beauty, as Kori Ingram sent a corner kick to the middle of the goalie box. Chanel Hernandez broke on the ball perfectly and connected before the ball even hit the ground sending the ball soaring into the goal.

She also hit pay dirt in the 24th minute when she intercepted a poor clearance from Clay-Chalkville just above the penalty box and crushed a shot through the goalie’s outstretched hands for the first half’s final goal to take a 4-0 lead.

“She’s a senior and leader on our team, she’s been with us for five years,” Pollard said. “She wants to make sure this is one of her best seasons yet and to leave everything she has on the field with no regrets.”

The pace slowed in the second half, as the Panthers bided their time, but still found the net a couple more times as Taylor Pilcher found the ball after a cross into the goalie box in the 59th minute.

Michelle Hernandez capped off her second straight hat trick to start the season when she raced ahead of the defense to track down a well-placed pass that left her all alone with the goalie.

“We lost a couple of key players from last year’s team, but the best thing is we brought back everybody else,” Pollard said. “We were a young group last year, we set an expectation last year and the girls enjoyed the taste of what that felt like and they’re in the hunt again to keep those expectations and maybe build on that this season.”

Pelham will stay at home and welcome McAdory High School Tuesday, Feb 19 where they are slated to kickoff at 5:45 p.m.