Edmond, Okla. – Striking early is understandably desired in soccer, but St. Mary’s University coach Corwyn Ritch realizes the potential downside to mounting such an early attack.

“The sad part is that sometimes when you score too early your concentration and aggressiveness drops because it came so easily, so quickly,” he said.

On Sunday, there was no downside for the Lady Rattlers.

Facing East Central University, Ritch’s women’s soccer squad not only showed the talent to produce an early lead, but also the discipline to maintain the advantage the rest of the way.

Back by goals from Ashlyn Leighton and Melinda Gentry, the Rattlers shut out East Central 2-0 at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Leighton, a freshman midfielder from Houston, struck in the fifth minute, while Gentry, a senior forward from Plano, Texas, added a goal in the 16th minute to allow the Rattlers (2-4) to prevail.

Goalkeepers Mari Edwards (So., Apex, N.C.) and Felicia Lombardo (Fr., New Braunfels, Texas) combined to pitch a shutout with two saves between them.

“Basically we had a good game plan going in,” Ritch said, “and the kind of movement we were looking for was executed by perfection by Carolina (Hernandez) when she set up Leighton for the first goal.”

The Rattlers also wanted to exploit East Central’s defense by finding outside runners, which they did on Gentry’s goal. She snuck through the back side and scored from about 18 yards out.

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