STANHOPE -- Just 48 hours after his club secured a key victory at The Brittany Girls Soccer Showcase, Southern Nash first-year coach Robbie Kennedy wondered how the Ladybirds would respond to yet another challenge in a short period of time.
Certainly, the thought process has changed at Southern Nash, which is experiencing a program resurgence this spring under the direction of Kennedy.
The Ladybirds passed another test Monday as they surged to an 8-0 triumph over rival Nash Central in non-league action at the SNHS Soccer Complex.
Southern, which didn't win a match in all of 2018, is now 4-1 overall and playing with skill and confidence.
SN controlled the majority of the proceedings from the outset and was rewarded nine minutes in when Brisa Savilla-Castro found the ball on her foot off a turnover and unleashed a quick laser for a clutch goal from abut 20 yards out.
Ladybirds' star forward Nef Gonzalez then got into the act as she located just a small amount of space at the 30-yard mark before delivering a high shot that found the twine to give Southern Nash a 2-0 cushion with 25:45 remaining before intermission.
But the Ladybirds were just getting starter as Jada Zimmerman dribbled through several Nash Central defenders before scoring from 15 yards out to send Southern Nash to a commanding 3-0 advantage just past the midpoint of the second half.
The Lady Bulldogs had a strong opportunity moments later, but Southern Nash defender Michaela Gibson was able to use her speed to prevent a potential Nash Central breakaway attempt.
Gonzalez and Savilla-Castro both collected hat tricks as Southern continued to pull away from a Nash Central lineup that was missing a few starters due to other commitments.
Southern Nash keeper Kathryn Robinson picked up her fourth shutout of the season. The Ladybirds have allowed just one goal to date -- and that was during a tough 1-0 loss against perennial powerhouse Cleveland High School out of Johnston County.
"We knew Nash Central was down a couple of players, so we thought it was important to get ahead early,'' Kennedy said. "I thought we did a really good job of trying to clog things up for their better scorers.''
The clubs will tangle again March 25 at Nash Central High School in Rocky Mount.
Pictured (Above): MALLORY MOVES THE BALL. Nash Central's Mallory Roughton advances up the sideline for the Lady Bulldogs during Monday's road setback against long-time rival Southern Nash High School. (Graphic photos by Geoff Neville)