04/19/05 — Golden Falcons edged in ECC 3-A play

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Golden Falcons edged in ECC 3-A play

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 19, 2005 1:55 PM

PIKEVILLE -- No go-to player.

No significant experience on the backline.

No depth.

Those factors might force any team to go through the motions each time it steps onto the soccer field.

Not Charles B. Aycock.

The youth-laden Golden Falcons, who are experiencing their fair share of growing pains this season, nearly collected their seventh victory in 15 tries Monday afternoon. But Washington's Meredith Knox tallied two goals within an eight-minute span, including the game-winner in the first overtime, to turn back Aycock 2-1.

Washington (5-3-1) leap-frogged over C.B. Aycock (6-7-2) into second place in the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference standings at 3-2. The Golden Falcons slipped to 2-3 and get their return match against the Pam Pack on April 25.

"She put them on her back and carried them ... said 'we're going to get this done'," Aycock coach John Fidler said of Knox.

Aycock protected a one-goal lead for 40-plus minutes.

The backline of sophomore sweeper Lizzie Sodoma, freshman Abby Caplinger, sophomore Kiara Rawls and senior Danielle Street prevented the Pam Pack from attempting a legitimate shot on goal. Washington misfired on its first 12 tries, frustrated by a Golden Falcon defense that did an admirable job disrupting its offensive rhythm.

Knox missed her first three attempts and none were on the mark.

"We haven't played in like a week and a half because our games last week got canceled," Knox said. "I think it took us a while to get back into the rhythm of things."

Washington continued spreading the Aycock defense and working the ball to the middle, and finally got Knox free in the 72nd minute. Ayla Tanercan ran onto a loose ball outside the 18 and delivered a one-touch pass to Knox.

Golden Falcon keeper Emily Stewart covered the near post, but a fatigued backline failed to drop and secure the back post. Knox crossed the ball toward the far post and an exasperated Stewart dived too late to make the save. The Pam Pack forged a 1-1 tie.

"I think we just realized that time was running down and we needed to hustle," Knox said. "We had been pushing the whole game, but couldn't get one through. Finally, Ayla put up the assist and we got one in."

The contest ended 1-1 in regulation.

During the short break before the first 10-minute overtime session, a few Aycock players stretched on the sidelines while Fidler offered encouragement to his young team. When the whistle blew, the Pam Pack gained control and Knox notched the game-winning mark 29 seconds later off Kendall Cox's assist.

"A sweet goal," Fidler said. "They just came flying (at us) and we were on our heels. They haven't had their backs to the wall before and hopefully it will build a little bit of character in them."

Knox successfully converted two of her four second-half chances on goal.

Aycock ended the overtime periods 0-for-3 in shots on goal.

"We can play for 60 or 70 minutes, but we just can't get over that hump right now," said Fidler, whose team is 0-2 in overtime games in ECC play this season. "I don't know. We're going to have to reach down and find a way to do it.

"We hurt after the Eastern Wayne game (an OT loss) and I think today for 70 minutes we out-played them. We just can't finish right now."

Sophomore forward Amanda Schlaeppi put Aycock ahead 1-0 in the 28th minute. Erin Medford started the goal-scoring play with a throw-in from the right side. Pam Pack keeper Sam Yates knocked the ball down and it landed at the feet of sophomore forward Danielle Sealey.

Sealey managed to knock the ball away toward Shirlanne Caplinger, who passed it to Schlaeppi. Schlaeppi finished with a perfect strike toward the far post.

"They're giving it everything they've got," Fidler said. "That's all you can ask of a young team."

Notes: Aycock and Washington tied West Carteret for the ECC regular-season title a year ago. ... The Golden Falcons led 11-8 in corner kicks. ... The Pam Pack owned a 19-11 edge in shots on goal. ... Aycock keeper Emily Stewart collected seven saves in 100 minutes. ... Washington won the JV game 4-0.