Hurricane's Minor making up for lost time
HURRICANE - Brittany Minor is on the clock and she's not leaving anything on the field.
The senior scored two goals in rapid succession Tuesday night to lead host Hurricane past Capital 4-0. A crowd of about 100 attended the matchup of Class AAA girls state-ranked soccer teams. A moment of silence was held before the game in remembrance of the 11th anniversary of 9/11.
The fire burning inside Minor only became stronger after she had to sit out last year when she transferred from Putnam County rival Winfield, losing her junior season. Now in her final season, Minor realizes she only has so many games left and she's getting the most out of herself and, in the process, elevating her teammates.
"Sitting out a year set the fire under my butt,'' said Minor, who leads the Redskins with 13 goals. "I'm not glad that I [sat out], but it's been the best thing.
"It's made me just work 10 times harder. It makes me want to win and makes me fight harder. I missed 20 games last year so I have to get them back.''
It took Minor less than 13 minutes Tuesday to score and put Hurricane (9-0, No. 2 in this week's state coaches association rankings) up for good 1-0.
Senior Callie McClanahan passed the ball ahead to Minor about 40 yards out and Minor charged down the middle and deposited the ball in the lower left corner.
Minor struck again a little more than two minutes later. Sophomore Audrey Barber sent a pass across the goal line and Minor put a foot on it just outside the right post for a 2-0 edge.
"She's an amazing finisher,'' Hurricane coach Shelly Young said of Minor. "She understands how to play forward. She likes to score goals. Not everybody likes to score goals. She's really good in the air.''
Barber tallied a goal with 5:09 left in the opening half to put the Redskins up 3-0. Hurricane sophomore Abby Watson set the final score with a goal off an assist from McClanahan with 1:54 to go. Redskins sophomore keeper Hannah Thompson turned in four saves to preserve the shutout.
Capital (5-3) missed some opportunities to grab momentum in the first half. Senior midfielder Katie Crowder sent a corner kick bouncing in front of the net and none of her teammates were able to get a foot or head on the ball. Then senior forward Lauren Johnson sent a shot wide right of an open net just before the break. Cougars all-state keeper Michelle Newhouse made five stops.
"We got off to a very, very slow start,'' said Capital coach Riley Gibson. "We came out a little flat in the beginning and [Hurricane] jumped on us. When you're within 2 feet of the goal and miss two, it's usually not a good night.''
Hurricane recorded its seventh shutout in nine games and has outscored its opponents 55-2.
"We have confidence in ourselves,'' Minor said. "Every team has a time where you peak, but I think every game we've gotten better. Every game we fix something. I'm pretty happy with everyone.''
"There's a lot of good players on this team,'' added Young, "but there's a lot of good chemistry. They just play really well as a team. We're still trying things out, trying people in different positions. We're not done developing as a team I hope.''
Minor is just glad to be back on the pitch and more importantly with her friends.
"I don't think I could ask more of my senior season,'' she said. "It means a lot for everyone to go out there and try their best and that's what everyone's doing.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at email@example.com or 304-348-4811.