Cartersville netted three first-half goals and added several more in the second half to overcome the Lady Panthers' bunker-like mentality in an 8-0 win.
In the nightcap, the Cartersville boys poured it on in the second half for a 4-2 win.
Roger Lowe, Lady Canes head coach, credited Ridgeland for bothering his team early on with its defensive strategy.
"They played hard, and I think they played about as good a game as they could. In the first half, we were frustrated because they played such a defensive game," Lowe said. "They put all their players in our goal so we couldn't score, but once we did score it kind of dropped the frustration level."
Rachel Webb broke through first for Cartersville, scoring in the 26th minute after a shanked goal kick from the Lady Panthers goal keeper.
Stefanie Will then found herself in front of a loose ball in the box and promptly pushed the ball past the keeper in the 30th minute for a 2-0 Lady Canes lead.
A couple minutes later, Webb added her second goal of the match by pouncing -- much like Will did -- on a ball in front of goal, kicking it by Ridgeland's last line of defense for a three-goal lead.
As well as the first half ended for Cartersville, the second half may have been even better, with the Lady Canes continuing the momentum from their three-goals-in-6-minutes frenzy to end the first 40 minutes.
"In the second half, we kind of stretched out, stretched the field, and that opened up their defense and we were able to score," Lowe said. "[We had] good passes, good shots on goal and our defense is just pretty stout. They didn't even threaten [to score]."
Meredith Holmes drew a penalty kick nearly 3 minutes into the second half after faking a shot at the top of the box and getting fouled a few feet from the goal. Holmes boomed a kick to the left of the keeper to give Cartersville a 4-0 lead in the 43rd minute.
Will followed up Holmes' goal a little later, in the 46th minute, by lobbing a shot from outside the box, a shot that the Lady Panthers' newly inserted goal keeper -- who was smaller than the first-half starter -- could only get her fingertips on. The goal was Will's second of the match and put the Lady Canes up by five.
The hosts were far from done scoring, however, as second-half sub Kaitlin Abernathy got in on the action with a 50th-minute goal. Abernathy handled a beautiful, ground-bound cross from Makaylie Gibbs to slot in Cartersville's sixth goal.
On the Lady Canes' next score, which came 8 minutes later, Abernathy did the honors herself and became Cartersville third multi-goal scorer of the evening following her neatly tucked shot into the left side of the net.
The goal scoring concluded in the 69th as Sydney James, who started out in goal for the Lady Canes, traded her colored jersey and got in on the offensive fun. James slid a through ball to Kaeli McDermott, who provided a professional finishing touch to score what would Cartersville's final goal of the match.
Afterward, Lowe -- who was the Canes soccer coach two years ago before retiring as a teacher -- wore the smile of a man who had scored the eight goals himself.
"This is my first year of coaching girls, but it is really enjoyable. They listen, they practice hard and then they take what they've learned in practice and do it in the games. And that is what is just fun -- to watch that happen as a coach," he said. "Until the first game I didn't know any of the players, so it's been a real interesting but a good time. I've had fun.
"They are a joyous soccer team, and it's fun to watch 'em play. We really had a turnaround once we beat Riverwood -- who is just an excellent team -- and our season turned around, and we have just played really well since then," Lowe added in reference to his team's 1-0 win March 2 over the then-No. 8 Lady Raiders. "Everybody got to play. Everybody who did play contributed in some way, so I think each time you get on the field, you get confidence. This is a fairly young team. Two defenders are freshmen."
Cartersville does, however, get veteran expertise from players like Holmes, McDermott, Anslee Sims, Alex Everhart and Mia Robinson.
"[They] really provide a lot of senior leadership," Lowe acknowledged.
Before erupting for season-high eight goals, the Lady Canes -- who wound up with nearly 20 shots on goal -- missed on several breakthroughs, including Holmes's near-miss on an upper 90 shot to left side of the goal and McDermott's off the crossbar.
The next match for Cartersville (5-3, 4-0) is slated for 5:30 p.m. Friday at Dalton. The Lady Canes lost to the Lady Catamounts last year on penalty kicks, Lowe said.
Canes overtake Ridgeland 4-2 with spirited second half
The Cartersville boys soccer team made it a clean sweep over Region 7-AAA opponent Ridgeland with a come-from-behind effort that delivered a 4-2 victory to the Purple Hurricanes.
The Panthers led 1-0 at intermission after scoring midway through the first half, but Cartersville "buried one within the first 5 minutes" of the second half, Canes coach D.J. Paradis said.
Harlan Richter curved a free kick right over the Ridgeland wall, a shot that went right through the keeper's hand, Paradis said.
Cartersville then nabbed its first lead of the match 7 minutes later when Matthew Bryson "beat the keeper and touched it past him off a rebound," Paradis added.
Less than 10 minutes elapsed before the Panthers re-tied the game at 2-all.
The hosts still had a bit of kick left in them, though, including one of loveliest looking shots of the season, Paradis acknowledged.
"We scored two quick goals," the Canes coach said. Richter hit his second free kick of the night on a shot that went into the upper right corner of the net from the right side of the field.
"[It was] probably one of the prettiest free kicks I've seen all year," Paradis said of Richter's second goal.
Cartersville capped its scoring on Jake Anderson's goal. Anderson scored on a crossed ball which he hit off the back post and trickled in on the other side.
"We just fought our way through and clawed back in like we needed to," Paradis said of his team's two-goal victory, noting that Cartersville handled Ridgeland's speed and did a good job of spreading the field. "We just played team soccer."
The Canes take a trip to second-ranked Dalton Friday for a 7:30 p.m. region matchup. "We're just looking for a good match Friday," Paradis stated.
A victory over the Catamounts would draw Cartersville one step closer to placing its name among the qualifiers for next month's region playoffs.
"We win any three of the next six [region matches and we're in]," Paradis explained.
The Canes are now 7-1-1 on the season and remain undefeated in the region at 4-0.