Nation Ford’s Varinia Delgado sends a shot towards the goal for the Falcons. Photos by Rob Upton

Nation Ford head girls’ soccer coach Khrys Dundr said he was glad his team secured a shutout during the Lady Falcons’ 5-0 win over visiting Gaffney Indians Tuesday night.

Every shutout in region play is valuable, he said, as the team enters what could be the most pivotal stretch of the season.

Five different Falcons scored in the win to help Nation Ford improve to 9-5 overall and 3-1 in Region 3-5A to take an early lead in the region standings. Nation Ford currently sits in first place, with both Fort Mill and Clover holding 2-1 region records with an extra game to play in hand.

“We all have one loss, and we’ve all beaten each other,” Dundr said. “One goal here and one goal there makes a difference. For us, it’s all improvement. We want to be better than the week before. We want to go up, up, up and keep focused.”

Karly Griffin opened the scoring for the Lady Falcons in just the fourth minute. The sophomore midfielder provided the decisive final touch from a floater in from the far corner. Five minutes later, freshman striker Grace Dunnery doubled the lead. She muscled off an Indian defender and made a smart finish to the Gaffney goalkeeper’s right.

Varinia Delgado made it 3-0 in the 20th minute, chipping goalkeeper Molly Beheler from the top of the penalty box. Freshman forward Eberlee Bolduc scored in the 53rd minute, with an assist by senior midfielder Mary Holt, to make it 4-0 to the home side.

Senior defender Camryn Rogers finished the scoring with a picture-perfect 25-yard free kick in the 72nd minute that flew into the top-right corner to seal the win.

Rogers said the team came into the Gaffney game hoping to play at a high intensity.

“We want to play as hard as we know we can do,” Rogers said. “When we’re all working together as a team, making the passes, making those runs, it’s all worked out in the end.”

Clover has won the region each of the last five seasons, according to Dundr. Last year, Nation Ford finished in second place in Region 3-5A, just behind Clover.

The Lady Falcons won two playoff games in 2021, reaching the Class 5A Upper State championship game before falling to J.L. Mann 1-0.

Nation Ford next travels to play non-region opponent Indian Land March 31 before returning home for what could be a pivotal region clash against Clover April 5. The Falcons later face their crosstown rival Fort Mill on the road on the final scheduled region game of the season April 26.

Clover is 2-1 in region play after beating Boiling Springs on Tuesday night. In the Blue Eagles’ other two region matchups, Clover beat Nation Ford, but lost to Fort Mill.

“We wanted to come out and play just as hard as those other region games,” Rogers said. “We’ve got to keep the intensity up.”

The Falcons’ Waverleigh Hash crashes into the Gaffney goalie during Nation Ford’s match Tuesday night.