Late Rocky Mount goal downs Lady Warriors
March 24, 2011Rocky Mount High School
By Jimmy Lewis
ROCKY MOUNT - The visiting Hunt High varsity girls soccer team rallied from a two-goal deficit in the second half Wednesday, but a late deflection off a corner kick in the 76th minute led to Sydney Browder's game-winning strike and a 3-2 Rocky Mount victory.
The loss snapped a seven-match winning streak to begin the serason for the Lady Warriors, No. 9 among the state's 3-A teams. Hunt exited 1-1 in Big East play, while Rocky Mount, the defending conference champion, improved to 5-5 overall and to 2-0 in the Big East.
After a first half that saw the Lady Warriors control the tempo, sending eight shots at the Rocky Mount net in the first 40 minutes, Rocky Mount quickly changed course from sending long balls down the field and began to fire at the Hunt net with increased regularity. The physicality also increased, with each team being assessed a yellow card in the final 40 minutes.
The Hunt defense, led in part by senior Lizzie Madden on clearances, didn't permit a Rocky Mount shot until the 42nd minute. The teams convened for halftime scoreless.
In that span, the Lady Warriors took five corner kicks and placed a pair of shots on frame.
"In the beginning, we were more focused on defensive containment of their offense because they have a lot of scoring power," Rocky Mount head coach Drew Nick said of Hunt. "That was our focus - I wasn't concerned with the number of shots, if any shots, to start out with. I was more concerned with our defense filling the holes, being body-to-body, man-to-man on their offensive runs because they make wonderful offensive runs. They are very patient when they score."
Rocky Mount tallied three corner kicks - all in the second half - and scored on two. Evie Hunter took a corner in the 44th minute and found Kaitlyn Jacob in the box. Jacob finished at the right post for a 1-0 Gryphons edge.
The lead ballooned to 2-0 in the 58th minute after Hunt ceded a penalty kick following a foul in the box. Kasey Cooke's low kick finished on the right side.
But in a second half, where the teams combined for 21 shots, Hunt wasn't done attacking the opposing net. After striking the top of the crossbar in the 64th minute, senior Ashley Batchelor took advantage of an overly aggressive Gryphons keeper on two occassions, tallying a pair of goals in the 68th and 74th minutes. Batchelor's final goal came when she darted behind the Lady Gryphons defense and finished over the top of the keeper for a 2-2 tie.
But Browder's game-winner came approximately two minutes later, as the final corner-kick sequence was set up by her long shot at goal from just beyond midfield. The ball trickled off the Hunt keeper and paved the way for the corner - where a deflection allowed Browder to settle inside the box and finish for the final 3-2 margin.
Hunt finished with an 8-7 advantage in shots on goal, while each side stopped five shots.
"Everything they do...they don't pass the ball; they just boot the ball down the field," Hunt head coach Trent Dorough surmised of the Lady Gryphons. "We passed the ball, we moved the ball. We were the best team in the first half and we were the best team in the second half. The score didn't show it."
Added Dorough: "If you look at it minute-wise, we controlled most of the game. But those long balls get you eventually."