EW tops Harnett Central
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 12, 2005 2:19 PM
Eastern Wayne didn't bat an eyelash when Harnett Central punched in the first goal Wednesday evening.
In fact, the Warriors' nerves seemed to disappear. After all, they've fallen behind 1-0 many times this season. Just like those previous occasions, Eastern Wayne wasted little time responding to the opponents' challenge.
Sophomore Samantha Frazer converted a breakaway goal in the 28th minute and the Warriors' intensity increased from there. Frazer added another goal, and Kasie Edwards provided two goals in a 4-1, opening-round victory in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A playoffs.
The Warriors (10-5-2) seized a first-round postseason win for the first time since 2002. They continue play Saturday at Hertford County, the No. 1 seed from the Northeastern Coastal Conference.
A defensive mistake allowed Harnett Central (10-10) to tally the game's initial goal. The Warriors failed to clear a loose ball outside the 18 and the Trojans' Candice Bryan quickly gained possession.
Bryan pushed the ball down the left sideline and dribbled toward the penalty area with two white-shirted Warriors on her heels. The sophomore midfielder got an open look at the goal and fired a perfect strike, low to the far post.
"Giving up that early goal, we're not shocked by that any more," Eastern Wayne coach Jorg Wagner said. "The girls, as young as they are, take it in stride. It doesn't bother them very much.
"We're pretty confident we can make that up."
Eastern Wayne, the No. 2 seed from the Eastern Carolina Conference, tightened defensively. Wagner complimented his team on denying the through pass to a target, which is basically the same offensive scheme the Warriors try to execute.
"Their style is similar to us. They like to win the ball, drop it back, give it to a target and see what they can do from there," Wagner said. "I was very pleased with our defensive midfield play and our back (line) play."
The Warriors controlled the midfield and organized numerous attacks. Frazer finally collected the equalizer at the 27:40 mark.
She trapped a ball against the Trojans' Britta Burkhardt and back-heeled it toward her left foot. The quick move left Frazer one-on-one with goalkeeper Lee Ann Bradley, who slowly crept off the line to challenge.
Frazer kept control and fired a bullet to the far post.
The teams played on an even keel until the Warriors scored again in the final minute before halftime. Natalie Taylor crossed a pass to Frazer in the penalty box and a shot deflected off Burkhardt, who kneeled to stop the ball.
Edwards ran onto the ball and bounced it off the post for a 2-1 advantage.
"Once our young players get into the flow of the game, they get a little better," Wagner said.
A costly defensive mistake helped produce the Warriors' third goal. Bradley anticipated a cross from the right side to Frazer and tried to knock the ball over the end line for a corner kick.
However, the ball rolled off her fingertips into the net.
Frazer finished off the Trojans, now 0-3 in road playoff games since 1999, nearly three minutes later with a brilliant play. Taylor chased down a loose ball, gained possession and crossed to Frazer.
Bradley came off her line and attempted to slide tackle the ball away from Frazer. Frazer tapped it away and booted her 17th goal of the season into an empty net.
"That was just phenomenal," said Wagner. "That's how you want to see goals scored. Two quick passes right through the heart of the defense."
Notes: The Warriors' all-time playoff record in the 3-A ranks is 2-3 with both wins at home. ... The Trojans owned a 10-9 edge in shots on goal, but trailed 3-2 in corner kicks. ... EW keeper Morgan Pritchett collected five saves.
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