GRANVILLE — Granville freshman Katie Cox heeded the advice of her big sister Thursday.
It helps when big sister is two-time All-Ohio senior Nikki Cox.
The younger Cox scored two goals, one on an assist from big sister, and the Blue Aces rolled to a 5-0 win against a Watkins Memorial team Granville’s seniors had never beaten as they took control of the Licking County League.
‘She (Katie) has been playing more defense, and I’ve been talking to her about pushing up more, and being more attacking,” said Nikki, who scored for the first time herself against the Warriors and also had two assists. “We were really excited about this game, and I was thinking all day about how we hadn’t beaten them. In the past, with the style they play, we got flustered, but we did a better job of controlling the ball.”
After Nikki’s assist to Katie less than three minutes in, Taylor Beitzel struck barely a minute later when she rebounded home Natalie Pireu’s accurate direct kick. When Nikki Cox slid a pass ahead to Rose Sawyers for another goal at 23:06 of the first, Granville (6-1-1) led 3-0 at halftime.
The Cox sisters both scored from long range in the second half, Katie from about 25 yards out and Nikki on an 18-yard blast. After taking three corner kicks in the first half, Watkins (2-5-1) didn’t have any over the final 40 minutes.
“Our defense played really well,” said goalie Tori Long, another senior who had never beaten the Warriors. “There were not a lot of shots on me, maybe a couple long ones, and our midfield did a good job controlling things. We have a lot of team chemistry this year. The talent is there, and they really want to win. Our fitness level is where we need it to be. Everyone on this team can play a whole game, but we don’t need them to.”
Granville coach Scott Forster said his team his clicking right now. “This was definitely a monkey off our back,” he said. “It was just a carry-over from the last two games we played.”
The Blue Aces knew what Watkins would try to do. “They do a lot of long services, and the girls were ready for it,” Forster said. “We also tried to focus on their two attacking girls (Amber White and Amberly Knox).”
Warriors’ coach Kaylee Phillips said this season has been a roller-coaster ride for her team.
“We’ve had some really high highs, and some really low lows, and this was definitely a low,” she said. “As a team, we have not clicked on the same night. We’ve been moving people around to different positions, but something is missing. They (Granville) have what we don’t: the ability to score goals. But we didn’t play badly. The score really doesn’t show how we played.”
Phillips tipped her hat to the Blue Aces
“They just wanted it more than us,” she said. “It’s a good rivalry, and you don’t mind losing to a team like that. They’re a great team and should advance deep again.”
For more photos by Sara C. Tobias and a video from Dave Weidig, go to NewarkAdvocate.com.