Once they got going, there was no stopping the Lady Commodores in the girls' state soccer tournament Saturday.
After a few minutes of tepid play to start the match, defending state champion Tates Creek broke through with three first-half goals and went on to defeat Lawrence County 7-0 in the quarterfinals at Lafayette.
"I thought we came out a little bit flat," said Tates Creek Coach Bo Lankster. "But I think the biggest thing was that Lawrence County took the fight to us. They came out and they did not back down. They were not intimidated.
"I give their girls and their coaching staff a lot of credit for coming into the game and saying, 'We're going to go at Tates Creek. We don't care about their reputation, we're going to go toe to toe with them.' And they did."
For a few minutes, at least.
Mallory Eubanks scored a little more than five minutes into the match and it was all Commodores from there.
Sophomore Ally Poage and senior Aaron Lankster added first-half goals to give Tates Creek a 3-0 advantage going into halftime.
"We got a goal and that settled us down," Bo Lankster said. "And, really, we played our best soccer in the second half. We made a few adjustments and we played really good early in the second half."
Any hopes Lawrence County had of a comeback were dashed early on in that second period.
In the second minute of the half, Eubanks started a play with a long pass that was fielded by Aaron Lankster, who crossed it past the reach of the Lawrence goalkeeper and right to the foot of freshman forward Haley Poynter.
Poynter kicked it home, and the Commodores added three more goals over the next 11 minutes to take a 7-0 lead early in the second half.
Aaron Lankster led the way with three goals for Tates Creek, which will play Notre Dame in the state semifinals Thursday at Paul Dunbar.
It was the second hat trick of the season for Lankster, who has 18 goals in 28 games.
"She has scored a lot of goals for us this year, and that was the one thing she knew she had to do to help our team be as successful as we are," Bo Lankster said.
Eubanks leads the squad with 37 goals, but she had only one of those Saturday. The senior wasn't officially credited with any assists, but she started several plays that ultimately led to Tates Creek goals.
"She was everywhere," Bo Lankster said. "We depend on Mallory to help us move the ball and just keep everybody else involved. It's not just about her. Mallory is the most unselfish player that we have. And that's kind of a tribute to what she is. She's looking to get everybody else involved."
By the time Poage scored her second goal — and the team's seventh — less than halfway through the second half, Lankster had already begun emptying his bench.
"We have a good group of kids that are younger, and it was so good to let them play in a final eight," he said. "That doesn't happen for a lot of players."
Tates Creek 7, Lawrence Co. 0
Goals—TC: Aaron Lankster 3, Ally Poage 2, Mallory Eubanks, Haley Poynter.
Goalkeepers—TC: Katherine Hein, Hannah Kardos; LC: Catherine Clay.
Records—Tates Creek 21-4-3, Lawrence County 20-6-0.
State semifinals at Paul Dunbar: Tates Creek vs. Notre Dame
When: 8 p.m.
Scores and schedule: Page D7
Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216.