05/12/05 — Eagles endure loss

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Eagles endure loss

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on May 12, 2005 2:18 PM

After coming out flat in the first half against Franklinton in the first round of the Class 1-A/2-A N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs, Rosewood picked up their offensive intensity in the second half -- outshooting the Red Rams 10-3 after intermission.

Franklinton managed to dodge those bullets, mostly from Eagles junior forwards Stephanie Behrend and Erin Thibodeau, and converted on its own chances in a 4-0 win at Branch Pope Field.

The loss ended another solid season for the Rosewood women's soccer program. The Eagles finished the season at 7-5-2 overall after a 7-2-1, second-place Carolina/Eastern Plains Conference campaign.

Still, the first playoff win in program history proved elusive once again.

"It started off in the beginning. We started out flat and we didn't pressure them," Rosewood coach Eddie Maldonado said. "We out-shot them in the first half, but we weren't trying to place the ball, we were just trying to blast it."

Rosewood fell behind 2-0 after the first half with both Red Ram goals coming off of corner kicks.

The Eagles seemed poised out of halftime to get on the scoreboard, posting a 3-0 edge in shots in the first eight minutes of the second frame. Minutes later, Behrend and Thibodeau each had two more near misses around the goal.

Each time, Red Ram goalie Jennifer Flood seemed to be in the right place, or the shots went wide or high of the goal.

Making matters worse for Rosewood, Franklinton (14-5-2) continued to capitalize on the offensive end. Fourteen minutes into the second half, Kim Turner booted a long free kick over the head of Rosewood goalie Molly Grantham to make the score 3-0.

Six minutes later, Ashley Mikulski scored dashing down the left side on an assist from Cassie Stapleton -- pushing the tally to its final margin of 4-0.

"I was impressed with them (Franklinton)," Maldonado said. "They came at us and did what they had to do, and we didn't do what we needed to do."

Down by four goals, the Eagles continued to battle on their offensive end. Behrend turned inside the box and rifled a hard shot off of the right post that seemed to be rolling toward the left corner, but skipped out of bounds.

Near the 13-minute mark, it seemed as if Behrend drew enough contact in the box to be awarded a penalty kick, but no call was made as she was injured on the play.

Only three total fouls were called in a physically played second half.

Franklinton got on the board in the first half when Melissa White knocked in a left-footed shot after a corner kick bounced out of the box -- uncleared by the Rosewood defense.

Midway through the first, Jenna Kettyle scored unusually -- one-hopping a corner kick from the left wing through the Eagle defense and around Grantham to make it 2-0.

The Red Rams outshot Rosewood 5-3 in the first half.

Grantham finished with six saves in goal for the Eagles, while Flood stopped seven for Franklinton.

Rosewood loses just one senior starter, sweeper Kandis Weeks, with reserve Amber Summers also graduating.

Maldonado believes the success of the program will continue next season, but he hopes for more consistency.

"This team has the talent. It's just a matter of the girls putting in the work ethic to perform the way they can perform," Maldonado said. "We were so inconsistent this year. We would have a good game, then we would have a bad game."

The Red Rams, the third seed from the Northern Carolina/Tar-Roanoke Conference, travels to face Western Guilford in the second round.

"We could have been 1, 2, 3 or 4 in our conference. We were all pretty equal," Franklinton coach Deran Coe said. "We played in a tough conference this year."