FLEMINGSBURG | Saturday was the first time Fleming County's girls' soccer team ever got to play on the high school field predominantly used for football.
The Panthers' offense adapted pretty well, hanging a touchdown and a two-point conversion's worth of goals on visiting West Carter.
Sophomore Cristi Petersen continued her torrid season with four goals, senior Shayla Robinson netted three and senior Kelsey Jent also ripped the twine in Fleming County's 8-5 win in a festive atmosphere at Panther Field.
Amber Buckley and Tesla Henderson each scored twice for the Lady Comets, who couldn't hang on to a 2-0 lead.
Not only was the Panthers' eight goals a season high, the output showed progress in getting offense from someone other than Petersen. She scored five of Fleming County's six goals in a Tuesday win at Bath County, but the Panthers have begun to find a little more balance since then.
"We were wanting to get more people involved than just having Cristi all the time score, but if she can do it, that's great," Fleming County coach Bobby Adams said. "Shayla stepped up, and our last game Thursday against St. Pat, we scored four goals and we had four different girls scoring, and I was really tickled over that."
Added Petersen: "We've gotten a lot better with passing and everything. It helps to have people up there that I can pass to and count on to score."
Having plenty of offense was necessary against the Lady Comets. They punched in five goals despite starting the game with 11 varsity players and finishing with 10 due to an injury to Tayla Steele, and they "ran out of steam," said West Carter coach Sandra Brown.
"We got off to a slow start here and gave up two goals, and if we can correct that, that's been our bad (thing) this year," Adams said. "St. Pat, it was under a minute and they'd already scored on us. It takes us a while to figure out who (opponents') go-to person is."
The additional pressure of the biggest soccer crowd in school history and the significance of the occasion may have contributed to that slow start, too, Adams allowed.
"I guess you can get a little too much, because then you start thinking about things and getting jitters when you've got all these eyes on you," he said. "Once you get down and settled and realize it's a soccer game that we've played before, then we get our nose under it."
Buckley scored in the third minute, and Henderson doubled that lead in the eighth. But being in that hole woke up the Panthers quickly, and the crowd's encouragement helped a little too.
"When we got down 2-0, it kinda gave us confidence to get up there and score," Petersen said. "We knew this was a big opportunity for us."
She scored in the 30th minute on a strike from about 25 yards out, and four minutes later, after a West Carter handball in the box, she stepped to the spot for a penalty kick.
Lady Comets goalie Gabby Bond stuffed Petersen's initial attempt, but she followed and punched in the rebound to tie the score at halftime.
The Panthers then posted four of the next five goals to forge a big lead.
Petersen scored in the 42nd minute, and Robinson was back post on Brandy Tumey's cross for another goal four minutes later.
The Panthers conceded what was ruled an own goal on Henderson's corner kick in the 48th minute, but 10 minutes after that, Petersen scored for the fourth time, and Jent tallied hers in the 63rd minute.
Robinson answered Buckley's goal and then followed Henderson's effort with another goal, closing the scoring in the final minute.
The Panthers are 3-0-1 in their last four games, with two remaining before the 61st District tournament begins next week.
"I think we're starting to catch on now," Adams said. "We had St. Pat, earlier in the year (it) was a 3-0 loss, and then we come back from (down) 4-1 to tie it up 4-4.
"We've got two left and it's district time, and we're just now starting to play the way we want to play."
Today, the Panthers boys will get their first crack at the high school field, hosting St. Patrick in a late-added game at 5:30 p.m.
The Fleming County girls are at Greenup County this evening.
West Carter 2 3 -- 5
Fleming County 2 6 -- 8
WC -- Buckley, 3rd minute
WC -- Henderson, 8th
FC -- Petersen, 30th
FC -- Petersen, 34th
FC -- Petersen, 42nd
FC -- Robinson, 46th
WC -- Fleming County own goal, 48th
FC -- Petersen, 58th
FC -- Jent, 63rd
WC -- Buckley, 73rd
FC -- Robinson, 75th
WC -- Henderson, 76th
FC -- Robinson, 80th
Records: West Carter 5-12, Fleming County 5-9-2.