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Roanoke Rapids tops Gryphons, 5-3
March 2, 2012Rocky Mount High School
By Mark Matthews, Roanoke Rapids Daily Herald
ROANOKE RAPIDS - The Roanoke Rapids womens soccer team expected a tough test against 3A Rocky Mount Wednesday. They got it, but in the end, a Jessie Scales hat trick was enough to push the Lady Yellow Jackets to a 5-3 win over the Gryphons.
“They were tough,” Scales said. “This is a huge win for us. We are definitely going to have a good season.”
The outcome was in doubt until late in the second half.
Trailing 4-3, Rocky Mount (0-1-1) was pressuring the Roanoke Rapids zone, but Laura Murray cleared the zone with a blast across midfield. Scales was the first player to get to the ball. The senior beat the Gryphons keeper with a shot to the back of the net with 17 seconds left in the game to seal the deal.
Murray’s zone-clearing kick was only part of the story for the sophomore. In the second half, she marked Rocky Mount star Kasey Smith, a member of one of Darren Dawson’s Greenville Stars Premier teams. After scoring two first-half goals, Smith was shut down in the second half, though she still had two good scoring chances.
“It was one of the keys to the game,” Frazier said of Murray’s play against Smith. “Murray did a really good job on her.”
The final 15 minutes of the game were action packed.
Scales scored with 14:33 left in the game to push the advantage to 4-2. The Gryphons got back within a goal when Kaitlyn Worsley scored with 4:42 left in the game.
If there was a negative for Roanoke Rapids, it was on the set pieces defensively for a second straight game.
Cooke’s first-half scores came on a header off a corner-kick and a 30-yard direct kick.
Fortunately for Roanoke Rapids (2-0), it had a two-goal lead before both of Cooke’s goals. The Rocky Mount star almost headed in a third goal off a corner kick late in the game, but her header was stopped by keeper Ariel Potter.
The first score of the game came after a corner-kick for the Lady Yellow Jackets.
Veronica Edmonds sent the ball into traffic in front of Rocky Mount’s net. Karissa Moss gained control of the ball and kicked it between the pipes with 26:03 left in the first half.
It took less than two minutes for the Jackets to push the advantage to 2-0. Edmonds took a pass from Scales and tapped it inside the left post. Scales would make it 3-1 with a goal with slightly less than 15 minutes left in the half.
The victory should be a confidence booster for the Lady Yellow Jackets.
“They are good.” Frazier said of the Gryphons. “What I like about our team is the way we didn’t panic. When they scored, we kept our shape defensively in the second half. We missed a couple of marks, but we stayed with it.”