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Derrick Mahone/Douglas County Sentinel Macey Hodge of Alexander battles Chapel Hill's Jordan Thompson during Tuesday's match to open the season.

As Alexander embarks on a challenging non-region soccer schedule, Alyssa Lane says getting the season off with a win builds confidence.

The Cougars jumped on county rival Chapel Hill early and cruised to a 5-1 win in the season opener for both teams.

“It is definitely empowering to get that first win of the season,” Lane said. “It builds your confidence as you get ready for the rest of the season.”

With a little over seven minutes into the match on Monday, KP Hambrick put the Cougars on the board with a goal at the 32:20 mark.

It would be all the first half scoring the either team would get in the first 40 minutes of play.

And then Alexander struck quickly out of the break with Macey Hodge scored a goal at the 39:39 mark for a 2-0 lead.

“Last season we didn’t jump on teams as quickly as we should have,” Hambrick said. “This season we are more than a team as we have built that sisterhood. We want to jump on teams early to bring out the Cougar in all of us.We just trying to set a tone early.”

And they did in Tuesday’s win.

Also contributing to the scoring was Lane as she scored with 24:43 remaining for a 3-0 lead. The Cougars would strike quickly again with Sara Schultz putting in a goal at the 19:50 mark for a 4-0 lead.

“I think the tone for the game is set in warmups with the hype music and all,” Hambrick said. “We were definitely pulled up coming into the game.”

Alexander will host Whitewater, a Class AAAA state-semifinalist from last season, on Friday. Chapel Hill will play at Hiram on Friday.

“We worked hard because you always want to beat your county rival,” Chapel Hill senior Alexys Phenix said. “We just have to communicate a little better.”

The Panthers, who reached the Class AAAA semifinals last season, avoided the shutout when senior Tierra Gilchrist netted a goal at the 11:29 mark.

“I thought we dominated the first half but didn’t finish,” Chapel Hill coach Katie Wolff said. “I thought we got a little tired in the second half because we are not a real deep team.”

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