BULLHEAD CITY — For upward of an hour Wednesday night, Oakley Heaton appeared to be in her own ZIP code.
That’s because the Mohave High varsity girls goalkeeper was rarely challenged by visiting Coconino of Flagstaff, as the Lady Thunderbirds dominated the conference tilt, 6-1.
Junior Rhyah Jackson and senior Elena Rodriguez notched two goals apiece for the victors, who leveled their overall record at 4-4.
For Mohave head coach Alexandria Boisclair, it was mission accomplished.
“We practiced full-on for the Panthers,” she said. “We’re a strong team, but need to put the ball in the back of the net more often.”
Rodriguez didn’t waste time in that regard, with the ice-breaking tally two minutes into the match.
Moments later, Jackson dribbled down the left side, closed in and drilled it home for a 2-0 lead.
Coconino rarely pushed the ball past midfield, as the Lady T-birds dictated terms with precision passing.
Ten minutes before intermission, Mohave went up 3-0 after junior Julia Camacho’s free kick deflected off the goal post. Shortly thereafter, fellow junior Skyler Foster got in on the act for a 4-0 advantage at intermission.
The Lady Panthers showed signs of life when the second half kicked off but couldn’t muster much of a threat.
Rodriguez soon hammered home another goal, staking Mohave to a seemingly insurmountable 5-0 lead.
Less than a minute later, however, Coconino converted on a corner kick — the rebound sneaking past Heaton and erasing her shutout in the process.
That’s when Boisclair summoned Jackson — who had been resting since halftime — to return to the field. That move paid immediate dividends, as Jackson promptly scored again for Mohave’s sixth and final tally.
In their previous matches at Lake Havasu and Mingus Union, the Lady Thunderbirds dropped both nail-biters — despite the fact they “controlled about 80%” of each game, according to assistant coach Kelly Burgess.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Mohave JV girls saw their record slip to 3-3-1 after a tough 1-0 defeat to their Coconino counterparts, on what proved to be a busy evening for tireless goalkeeper Kaylee Saldana.
Next on the horizon for the Lady T-birds is an excursion to Flagstaff on Tuesday.