Coach Alan Evans celebrated his 200th career win in the best fashion possible, with a big win and the shut out.
Evans’ 200th win was marked by a 4-0 win over Montgomery County last Wednesday night and the Lady Vikings’ eighth straight win.
“It was my 200th win, so excited to get the shutout here at Montgomery County,” said Evans. “I am just really proud of the girls. We were banged up from the other night. Harrison was a tough team and this was another tough game tonight. But when the teams get tougher, this team really seems to step up.”
Evans has been a tradition coach at Rowan County for well over a decade. He has won four regional championships and has collected 200 wins with the Vikings’ programs.
He started as the girls’ coach in 2001 and coached the Lady Vikings to two regional titles, in 2001 and 2003. He advanced to the second round of state in 2003.
He took over as the boys’ coach from 2004-2012 before resuming his position as girls’ head coach in 2016. He won the boys’ region in 2006 and 2008.
Behind outstanding efforts from the Lady Vikings’ senior leadership, they defeated the Lady Indians.
Promise Cross scored a hat trick for the second year running against their Montgomery County foe.
Cross scored the first goal before the half. She gave the Lady Vikings a little breathing room, but the team knew it was going to take more than one goal to slow down the Lady Indians.
Cross out-legged two defenders and patiently waited for the goalkeeper to make the first move for both of her goals in the second half. Natalie Peyton assisted both of Cross’ goals in the second half by playing a through ball that she had no doubt Cross would win the race to.
“It is really my midfielders and the other forwards giving good passes and putting them places I can get to them. I am really appreciative of that. They always know where to place the ball for me and it is just my job to finish ‘em,” said Cross.
Peyton, stepping up this season, also scored her eighth goal on a free kick. She slipped one in the upper ninety from over 20 yards out.
“I practiced it a lot over the summer, because I was hoping that if he ever let me hit one like that I could put it back there. In Tennessee, I hit one like that. So now, I have more confidence and I am just going to go for it every time,” said Peyton.
On top of an outstanding offensive performance, the Lady Vikings have the defense to thank for keeping the net clean.
Wednesday night’s win was the teams ninth win this season and their fifth shutout. The defense is captained by senior keeper Maegan Gonzalez. Gonzalez put up a wall at the goal line. She made nine saves, four of them that came off the foot of Montgomery County’s Makenzie Moore.
“Our team has been going so much this year. I think we are going to do more than anyone has expected. We are looking really good and we are getting better every game,” said Cross.
The girls knew coming into the season that they would be an exceptionally strong team offensively. However, they have surprised themselves with how strong they have become defensively.
“We lost all of our defenders last year so we really had to focus at our camp at MSU of getting our defense straight. We changed our strategy because we didn’t have a true sweeper role. We had to get more organized with our center-backs,” said Evans.
“Our seniors Allyah Barker and Kaitlyn Hilton have done an outstanding job. Our sophomore Haley Barnette is our tone setter back there. And Cacey (Moore), our starter was out, so Rachel (Emrick) got the call tonight. I thought she played a tremendous role in tonight’s shut out,” said Evans.
The win over Montgomery County was also their eight straight victory. With just over a month of the regular season left, the Lady Vikings have high hopes for the fast approaching postseason.
Coach Evans hopes to add another regional win to his accolades.