03/23/04 — Soccer -- Rosewood blanks JK

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Soccer -- Rosewood blanks JK

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on March 23, 2004 2:00 PM

The words "sophomore" and "leader" aren't typically used together, but the success of Rosewood's girls soccer team this season will largely depend on how well its sophomore-laden team competes.

So far, so good.

One of eight sophomores, last year's leading scorer Erin Thibodeau, recorded her third hat-trick (three goals) in six games on Monday as the Eagles dropped James Kenan 5-0 at Branch Pope Field.

"I think the sophomores this year are stepping it up. Our seniors and juniors are awesome, but I think we have a big role this year because we are a majority," Thibodeau said. "We are stepping up and trying to make this team good."

The win improved the Eagles (5-1 overall) to 2-0 in the Classes 1-A Carolina/Super-Six Class 2-A Eastern Plains Conference. The Tigers (3-3 overall), who were outshot 27-6 on the game, dropped to 2-1 in conference play.

James Kenan never formulated much of a consistent offensive attack against the Eagle defense, keyed by two of Rosewood's three seniors, stopper Amber Kriger and sweeper Stacy Ellis. Sophomore goalkeeper Molly Grantham finished with five saves in Rosewood's second shutout of the season.

Rosewood maintained possession for a large portion of the game, especially in the first half, as Thibodeau and fellow sophomore forward Stephanie Behrend, who finished with two assists, used their speed and passing ability to work the ball mostly down the left sideline.

After numerous near misses, Thibodeau headed in a cross from the right wing from Behrend to open the scoring near the 15-minute mark of the first half.

The Tigers and goalie Kandice Helton continued to dodge bullets through the remainder of the first half. Rosewood launched 20 shots and had six corner kicks in the first half and finished with just one goal.

"I think we created a lot of opportunities, but we should of put a lot of those away. We had plenty of shots," Maldonado said. "We need to work on the finishing a little bit, but I think we played a pretty solid game up to finishing."

The Eagles goal-to-shot ratio proved much better in the second half as they tacked on four goals in the second half on seven shots. Thibodeau tallied the first 15 minutes into the second half with a shot inside the 18-yard box that slipped through the gloves of the Kenan keeper on Behrend's second assist. Thibodeau capped the hat trick and the scoring with a left-footed shot under the five-minute mark of the game.

Freshman Rachel McCormick got into the scoring with consecutive goals four minutes apart in the middle stages of the second. The first coming on a picturesque, unassisted strike from near the top of the box that found the top right corner.

McCormick took a pass from Chelsea Brown, who also had two assists, and scored her second goal on a shot that wrapped around the right goal post.

"Besides the Aycock game, we've looked pretty good so far," Maldonado said. "This team, it just depends on how the girls come out each day. If they want to come out to play, they can play well."

Both team's return to conference action on Wednesday on the road as Rosewood travels to North Johnston and James Kenan faces Spring Creek in Seven Springs.