Crowe gets going in playoff victory
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 10, 2005 1:55 PM
Georgia Crowe kept on shooting.
Unlucky throughout the second half of the season, the Wayne Country Day sophomore finally found some good fortune Monday afternoon. Crowe collected the hat trick -- three goals -- as the Chargers eliminated Community Christian 4-1 from the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Class 1-A playoffs.
"It was great to finally get something to go in," said Crowe, who notched her third hat trick of the season.
Wayne Country Day (6-7-1) gets little time to celebrate its third straight opening-round, playoff win. The sixth-seeded Chargers continue play today at unbeaten and top-seeded Greenfield School. Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Community Christian coach Maitland Barnes knew very little about the Chargers' entire offensive scheme. However, he was well aware of Crowe and frontline mate Christin Grubb, who had accounted for nearly 95 percent of their team's offense.
Two or three Cyclone defenders shadowed Crowe and Grubb throughout the afternoon. The twosome still managed to get open looks against keeper Ashley Gregory, who controlled play in the penalty area and made superb saves against the sure-footed shooters.
"We were doing some of the things we wanted to do," said Barnes. "Late in the season, you hope you can get it all together. Sometimes you have a couple of breakdowns."
The breakdowns hurt the Chargers.
Lack of consistent midfield play and miscommunication on loose balls allowed Community Christian to break a scoreless tie in the 27th minute.
Eighth-grader Caroline Sharpe ran onto a loose ball and dribbled down the right sideline. She flicked a pass toward fellow eighth-grader Sarah Catherine Moore, who lost control of the ball against a Charger defender.
Sharpe stayed with the play and flicked the ball ahead into the penalty area. Keeper Ellen Elmore came off her line and Sharpe lofted it over her head into goal for a 1-0 advantage.
The Chargers answered two minutes later.
Grubb drew a hard foul in the box and Crowe attempted the penalty kick. She fired a perfect strike low toward the near post for the 1-1 tie.
"I always go for that certain side, but I thought she had it because she's pretty long," a grinning Crowe said. "I always put it on the ground."
The equalizing score helped Wayne Country Day increase its intensity and energy level, but it still lacked the communication. First-year coach Juliet Pinder-Jones stressed the communication factor at halftime.
The Chargers listened and executed.
Senior Sarah Coleman and Whitney Nagel controlled midfield possession and distributed the ball foward to Grubb and Crowe. The duo encountered double teams at times, but kept peppering the Cyclones' goal.
Senior Mimi Bridgers, Stephanie Knutson and sweeper Virginia Best provided tremendous support. Bridgers and Knutson tracked down balls on the sidelines and pushed them to either Coleman or Nagel.
Best patrolled the backline well and kept the Cyclones from breaking loose for any one-on-one possessions. Community Christian didn't attempt a shot on goal for 30-plus minutes in the second half.
"The second half, they brought it," Jones said. "They did a great job of stepping up, communicating and being more aggressive. I just told them to play their game.
"Whenever Georgia or Christin got the ball, they capitalized on it."
Crowe put the Chargers ahead 2-1 barely five minutes into the second half. She gained control of a loose ball, back-heeled it to her right and cut past a Cyclone defender.
With three purple-shirted defenders chasing her, Crowe broke loose inside the 18-yard area and laced a shot toward the far post. The ball deflected off the post and shot toward the backside of the net.
Grubb made it 3-1 with a left-footed shot off Crowe's assist midway through the second half. Crowe completed the hat trick with a near-post shot just inside the penalty area off a long ball from Best.
Notes: The Chargers outshot the Cyclones 16-4. ... Elmore finished with one save, while Gregory had six for Community Christian. ... The Cyclones are 0-4 in the playoffs, including last year's penalty-kick shootout defeat against WCDS. ... The Chargers' playoff record since 2002 is 4-3 including a 2-0 mark at home.
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