It was the home opener for Spalding (1-0), which was rained out of its original home date with Henry County.
“It was good to get a match in and it was really good to get a win in the first match of the season,” said Jags head coach Scott Henderson. “We’ve still got some things to work on, however.”
The Jags scored quickly against Mt. Zion. After forward Brandon “Cornbread” Thomas bounced a shot off the crossbar, his teammate Jake Mathis headed the rebound past the keeper into the net and gave Spalding the 1-0 lead at the 35:20 mark. Seven minutes later, Alex Engel made a nice assist to Trace Scott for a goal and the 2-0 Jags lead, which they took into halftime.
While the Bulldogs didn’t score, they did put pressure on the Jags for most of the game. Mt. Zion’s Ulises Angeles seemed to get past the Jags defense and get a few shots, which didn’t please the Jags coaching staff. Spalding keeper Peter Strnad did his part to keep the shutout alive, however, getting five saves in the contest.
The Jags scored three more times in the second half. Brandon Thomas scored the team’s third goal off an assist from Jake Jeffcoat at 30:53 and seven minutes later, Grant Neel scored off an assist from William Thomas for the 4-0 lead. Mackenzie Marcoux scored Spalding’s final goal (assisted by Jeffcoat) with 1:35 remaining for the 5-0 score.
Spalding had 15 shots in the match to 10 for Mt. Zion and Spalding had 8 shots on goal to 5 for the Bulldogs. The Jags possessed the ball only 3 minutes more than Mt. Zion and out-passed Mt. Zion 215 to 147.
The Jags are back in action Tuesday, Feb. 26 when they host Region 4-AAAA foe Jonesboro in their region opener at 7:30 p.m.