DUNCANVILLE – Nothing went easy for the Midlothian girls soccer team on Wednesday night. That is unless your name was Ashley Cox.

Injuries and new faces in the Lady Panther lineup left the team with some areas to work on but Cox helped pick up the slack by netting a hat trick to lead the team past Duncanville, 3-2. The team was without three regular starters and was playing at Duncanville’s Old Panther Stadium, a grass field which featured a surface the team was not accustomed to playing on.

It might have slowed some members of the team. Not Cox.

“We’ve had a lot of starters out so we’ve had to put some newer players in. We have some JV players playing up and it’s just hard transitioning with all these new players,” Cox said. “(Coach Sid) Danner always says we need to focus so whenever we were down I put out all my best and just tried to work with the team to get some goals in.”

Midlothian (9-6-3, 6-3 district) fell behind with just over 12 minutes left in the first half when Duncanville scored off a deflection at the goal line. That deficit lasted just a few moments as Cox punched in her first goal of the night on a shot from the right side with just under eight and a half minutes left in the half.

That 1-1 tie didn’t last long in the in the second half as Cox scored her second just 15 second into the match on a breakaway. It might not have taken long to regain the lead but it took very little time losing it.

About 14 minutes later, Duncanville found the back of the net on a similar strike to its first goal as the defense appeared to have come up with a stop on a corner kick but the ball simply trickled past the line.

“In the past, at 2-2 we might have lost our focus like we’ve been talking about but they didn’t do it. They went out and as soon as that happened Ashley and everyone else for that matter stepped up,” Danner said.

Instead of crumbling, Midlothian rallied back in under a minute as Cox worked the ball in the zone and fired off a shot that sailed into the net for her third unassisted goal of the night. After that, the team’s defense stood firm allowing Duncanville just four second half shots on goal.

The win gives Midlothian its second-straight victory heading into Friday’s match with Legacy, one of the three district teams that beat them during the first half of district play. While relying heavily on one player wasn’t the plan, Danner was relieved to know his veterans were ready to step up when called upon. His hope is that it was a sign of progress not regress.

“We had two more starters go down so we had two more people that had to get in the game who haven’t gotten a whole lot of playing time. They got into a match where we put ourselves in a tough situation,” Danner said. “Luckily, we had an Ashley Cox tonight who decided she was going to take over and take care of everything by herself. It was a tough match that we had to win and I think we kind of took a step forward tonight.”

Contact Alex at alex.riley@wninews.com or at 469-517-1456.