By Chuck Ballaro, Sun Correspondent
PUNTA GORDA – After an impressive opening day victory, the Charlotte High School girls soccer team came crashing back to earth Thursday in its home opener against Fort Myers.
Senior captain Kayla Thorne scored twice and the Green Wave defense completely shut down the Tarpons attack as they cruised to a 5-0 victory in a non-district contest.
Like in the opener, the Tarpons (1-1) got off to a slow start and trailed early. But unlike the opener, Charlotte never got off the mat as the Green Wave dominated in every facet of the game and weren’t phased after Haley Peterson was sent off early in the second half with a red card after an altercation with a Charlotte player, forcing them to play one down for the rest of the game.
“It’s a big field and we wanted to take advantage of it with our speed and passing ability. I thought we did a good job with that,” said Fort Myers coach Dave Terpkowski. “The game became a little bit chippy after that.”
Sarah Hagan started things off for Fort Myers with a goal in the sixth minute after Olivia Talmadge passed it to her in a scrum in front of the net and beat Charlotte goalkeeper Frenchie Gaudemer.
Thorne scored three minutes later and again from just outside the box in the 22nd minute to blow the game open early.
Meanwhile, after scoring four goals in the opener, Caitlyn Lowery was shut down by Fort Myers defender Sara Delucca, who never let her get going, forcing her to take tough shots from bad angles, making for an easy evening for Fort Myers goalkeeper Riley Monahan.
“We play defense as a team. We try to do everything as a team. We weren’t trying to key on any player, we just took the team aspect and went from there,” Terpkowski said.
Fort Myers added to its lead on a high floater that got over Gaudemer’s outstretched arms in the 44th minutes, then finished the scoring despite being shorthanded on Faith McDonald’s goal.
For Charlotte coach Amanda Carr, Fort Myers provided them with a true test. She said she had never seen a red card in all her years in competition, and if there was one positive she could take away was how the Tarpons kept their composure.
“That incident with the drop kick showed the class this team carries with them. We never got frustrated or talked back to the refs. They stayed calm and I’m proud of them for it,” Carr said.
Carr said Fort Myers was a better team, and the game exposed some things the team needs to work on.
“It was a lack of communication and passing, but it’s not anything we can’t improve on and they’re not willing to learn,” Carr said. “The girls are still hungry to have a good season.”