04/29/04 — Soccer -- N. Lenoir outlasts Rosewood

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Soccer -- N. Lenoir outlasts Rosewood

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 29, 2004 2:02 PM

LAGRANGE -- Senior midfielder Elizabeth Foye crossed her hands above her head, took a deep breath and remained on the bench an extra few seconds as her North Lenoir teammates huddled before the second half against Rosewood Wednesday afternoon.

First-year Hawks coach Dan Amodeo turned around, saw Foye was still sitting on the bench and encouraged her to join the group. The visiting Eagles probably wished she had sat down ... for good.

Foye collected the game-winning goal in the 42nd minute as North Lenoir eased past Rose-wood 2-1 in a battle of state-ranked teams at Hawks Stadium. The Hawks gained sole possession of first place in the Classes 1-A/2-A Carolina/Super Six/Eastern Plains Conference at 9-1 and dropped the Eagles to 9-2.

More importantly, Amodeo's squad also seized the tiebreaker based on head-to-head competition. North Lenoir defeated Rosewood twice and if both teams possibly tie for the regular-season title, Amodeo's team gets the No. 1 seed for the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs.

"We knew what was at stake and they knew it, too," first-year Eagles coach Eddie Maldonado said.

Trailing 1-0 at halftime, Rosewood quickly attacked the opening kickoff. The Eagles lost possession and the Hawks headed the other way when Haley Bright nearly broke free from the defense.

A sophomore forward, Bright dribbled to right and drew the Eagle defense with her. She flicked a pass back to Foye in the middle, who dribbled once as keeper Molly Grantham came off her line to challenge in the penalty area.

Foye chipped a shot over a sliding Grantham, giving the Hawks a 2-0 lead.

"I told her that she was in perfect position," Amodeo said. "I told her to stay where you are and we'll get it to you. I knew they would try to take away the middle because that's how we beat them the last time.

"We worked in practice on moving the ball wide and then taking it to the middle. That worked for us today."

It was Foye's 12th goal of the season.

"For the first 20 minutes, we really put our heads down (in the second half)," Maldonado said. "But we got back into it. We knew we were going to have our opportunities and we did have our opportunities ... many better chances than they did."

Hawks keeper Febe Barraza worked with Amodeo during the week on coming out and challenging more to help the defense. That strategy also disrupted the Eagles offensive rhythm, especially the shots taking by Erin Thibodeau and Stephanie Behrend. Barraza's aggressiveness forced the duo to take their shots a little quicker than normal.

"We knew that they like to boot it (forward) and let their two girls (Thibodeau and Behrend) run to it," said Amodeo. "They've got good footwork and speed. I encouraged Febe to come out on long plays and help the defense.

"She just made some excellent saves."

Barazza stopped six second-half shots and eight overall.

Thibodeau, who missed Rosewood's last two games, denied Barazza her eighth shutout of the season. The crafty sophomore forward took a quick shot toward the net and converted in the 74th minute, giving her 33 goals on the season.

The Eagles, tied for 10th in this week's N.C. Soccer Coaches Association 1-A/2-A poll, took three more shots in the final five minutes. Barazza stopped two, while another one rolled wide of the net seconds before the referee blew the final whistle.

North Lenoir (14-1-1, 9-1) broke the scoreless tie in the 36th minute.

Katie Maloney crossed a pass from midfield to Bright, who dribbled into open space and forced Grantham to cover the near post. Bright settled the ball and fired a perfect strike into the low left corner.

Rosewood's first shot of the game clanged off the crossbar as Barazza, who made a glove save, fell backwards into the net. Sophomore sweeper Ruthanne Hardy cleared the ball.

Thibodeau narrowly missed a header in the 27th minute. Behrend's 30-yard blast rolled wide left of the near post in the 31st minute.

"They just put away the chances they had and that was the difference in the game," Maldonado said. "They could finish and we couldn't finish tonight; get the ball to roll in our favor."

The Hawks are ranked No. 9 in the NCSCA 1-A/2-A poll.

Rosewood 0 1 -- 1

North Lenoir 1 1 -- 2

First half

NL -- Bright (Maloney assist), 35:29

Second half

NL -- Foye (Bright assist), 41:25

R -- Thibodeau (unassisted), 73:31

N. Lenoir Rosewood

11 Shots 13

3 Corner kicks 6

0 Offsides 1

12 Fouls 6

Saves -- Barraza (N. Lenoir) 8; M. Grantham (Rosewood) 5.