KENLY — Despite forecasts of precipitation, only a few drops of rain invaded West Johnston's semifinal matchup with Corinth Holders in the Four Oaks Bank Cup girls soccer tournament.
Instead, the Wildcats produced their own deluge, with a steady shower of goals en route to a 9-0 swamping of the Pirates.
Behind a pair of goals from Mallory Barton and a hat trick by Alaina Custer, the two-time defending champion Wildcats scored almost at will against the Pirates with an aggressive, dominating attack.
The win propels West into the championship match against Cleveland, a 3-2, come-from-behind winner In the opening semifinal..
Barton notched both of her goals in the first half, as West broke open a scoreless battle with three goals in a seven minute span. Also scoring goals for the Wildcats in that spree were Custer and Rebecca Meshaw.
Barton's first goal came midway through the first half, a right-to-left blast that beat Pirates goalkeeper Lauren Keiser.
That came after the Wildcats had hit the right post and the cross bar once each during the half as West consistently peppered the goal.
West quickly assumed control of the match, limiting Pirates possessions beyond midfield, and if Corinth Holders progressed beyond that point, rarely penetrated the Wildcats' defensive third.
West used counterattacks effectively, and pushed in scores in the 27th, 32nd and 33rd minutes.
Rachel Thomas, Kristin Power, Heather Bittle and Meshaw all picked up assists during the run of goals.
West coach Ken Stewart warned his Wildcats that Corinth Holders would attempt to match the intensity West had demonstrated in the first half, as well as mimic the attacking method used by the Wildcats.
The Pirates came out exactly as Sweat anticipated, and the Wildcats were up to the challenge, turning back three solid attempts by Corinth Holders to get back in the match.
“They (Pirates) came out in the second half with a very good, very aggressive off-sides trap,” Sweat said. “But we did a good job against that.”
West continued to attack, and chased Keiser from the match with a pair of goals to increase the gap to 6-0, then pounded an additional pair of goals past back-up keeper Rachel Wilkin for an 8-0 bulge with 15 minutes to play.
“The girls played well tonight,” Sweat said. “They shared the ball very well and took advantage of the opportunities that were given to them.”
West emptied its bench for the final 10 minutes, and while continuing to apply pressure, never made a serious run at goal until the final minute, when Meshaw was taken down from behind in the Box.
Meshaw pushed her penalty kick past Wilkins for a mercy rule stoppage with 54.1 seconds remaining. Others scoring goals in the second half were Custer (2), Madison Covey and Thomas.
Bittle finished with three assists, while Gloria Almanza also notched an assist.