The Pulaski County Maroons soccer team take a 3-2 victory over their cross-county rival the Southwestern Warriors at he Plains on Monday night.
The Maroons came out of the gate striking. They made it a point to keep the ball in Warrior territory and feed it to their top scorer, junior Jaxon Gambill.
Gambill just barely missed in his first three attempts but quickly made up for it on back to back goals. First, he fired one in the upper left corner of the net just fingertips away from Warrior goalkeeper Caleb Seward's reach. Just a few minutes later, Gambill drove around two Southwestern defenders, faked Seward out and put it in just out of his reach for the second time.
"What can you even say about Jaxon Gambill tonight," said Maroon head coach Darrell McGahan. "That second goal was, well you couldn't have master professionally hit a better ball than that."
Gambill's goals put his Pulaski County Maroons up 2-0 just after the midway point of the first period.
Late in the period, Southwestern senior Dylan Stevens attempted two goals to try and get something started for the Warriors, but both balls were saved by Maroons goalkeeper Riley Howell.
Both teams were active from the get-go after the break but were not able to put the ball in the net.
Gambill was the first to find the net in the second period, and also found his third goal of the game - for the hat trick - when he was given a penalty kick midway through the period. It was a long shot, but Gambill nailed it in to give Pulaski a 3-0 lead.
Several minutes later the Warriors finally started clicking. First, Stevens kicked a perfect pass to fellow senior Chase Eastham who knocked it in with ease to finally put Southwestern on the board.
Eastham repaid Stevens with a nice assist of his own. Like Eastham, Stevens hit his shot and the Warriors were down just one goal late in the second period.
Later, sophomore Warrior Hayden Shadoan took the ball down the sideline wide open. He out sped a Maroon defender to reach the goal uncontested and took a nice shot. However, Howell absorbed the shot with his body for a clutch stop that kept the Warrior from evening the score.
With six seconds left in the period Stevens took a final attempt from way downfield and sailed over the net. Despite a nice comeback by the Warriors, the Maroons left with a 3-2 victory.
"It was a great game," said coach McGahan. "This was probably one of the better games we've played all year. We were on a five-game losing streak. It's good to have a couple senior leaders back from injury and playing well. Having Mason Atwell back on that back line makes a world of difference. Having Braxton Hewitt, who's still at about ninety percent after his concussion, playing well…We probably should've had more goals. We took our foot off the gas a little bit there. Props to them. They were playing down two guys due to red cards. They played their game and they played hard. I also have to give props to my boys. We played well… It's good to get a win and get over that losing streak. These next few days will test the boys. I told them that this game determines if they're men or boys and they were men tonight."
The big victory puts the Maroons at 5-7-1 on the season and they will be back in action tonight against the Madison Southern Eagles at home. The Warriors dropped to 7-9-2 on the season and they also play tonight at Lexington Christian.