CARTHAGE — The Carthage High School girls soccer team fell behind early — within the first minute to be exact.
Kilgore added an insurance goal in the second half as they defeated host Carthage 2-0 in both teams’ District 15-4A opener on Friday in Carthage.
“It’s a tough loss tonight, we knew how good Kilgore was coming in,” Carthage Coach Jason Whatley said. “They are probably the pre-district favorite, but we beat them last year and we know we can beat them. That makes this all the more interesting rivalry that’s starting to develop.”
Angelica Canchola scored off a cross from Lexi Lara in the opening the minute, and Emily Beason scored in the 67th minute for Kilgore.
Carthage goalkeeper Destiny Allison finished with nine saves in the cage.
“I think we played pretty solid; it’s always tough when you give up a goal in the first 10 seconds,” Carthage senior forward Kipton Travis said. “That’s not what you want to see for a district opener. But I think we combated it pretty well and played solid throughout.”
In what Travis described as Carthage’s most physical game of the season, Carthage didn’t back down to Kilgore, who is considering among the elite in the district.
“This was definitely the roughest game we’ve played,” Travis said. “Physically it was 11 out of 10. Things were definitely getting physical out there.”
Kilgore finished with nine shots on goal to none from Carthage.
When Carthage got their opportunities in the box, Kilgore was either able to clear the ball out or regain possession to prevent Carthage from scoring.
Carthage came into the game with a 5-3 overall record and Kilgore 2-6-1.
“We just have to learn to beat them in possession and be able to counter better,” Whatley said. “We were chasing them after that first five minutes, then they got that second goal in the second half. We just never could finish the few chances that we got.”
Carthage feels they learned a lot and understand that the intensity is only going to ramp up from this point on.
“We can only go up from here,” Travis said. “This was definitely one of the toughest teams that we’ll play, and I feel we could’ve won this game if we woke up sooner. I think we have a good season ahead for us.”
Carthage came into the match winners in four of their last five non-district match-ups, including wins over Chapel Hill and Mexia.
Carthage will visit Spring Hill on Friday at 5 p.m.
“This was a good wakeup call for us to realize that the games are going to be a lot more physical now that the games really matter,” Whatley said. “I was proud with how our girls responded though, our girls do bring physicality.”