10/12/05 — State-ranked Knights shut out Chargers

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State-ranked Knights shut out Chargers

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 12, 2005 2:00 PM

State-ranked Greenfield peppered numerous shots on goal and kept Wayne Country Day keeper Ryan Ford busy Tuesday afternoon. But the Knights had nothing to show on the scoreboard for their effort after 40 minutes of play.

The teams appeared to relive a previous match two weeks ago when they battled to a scoreless draw at intermission. Greenfield responded with three second-half goals en route to the win.

Would history repeat itself?

Travis Davis

News-Argus/Mitch Loeber

Wayne Country Day's Travis Davis (5) and a Greenfield forward battle for possession during Tuesday's contest.

Senior striker Chris Tripp notched two second-half goals and added an assist as the Knights blanked the Chargers 3-0 in their Classes 1-A/2-A Coastal Plains Independent Conference affair. Greenfield keepers Aaron Suggs and John Herring combined for their sixth shutout in league play and ninth overall this season.

The Knights swept the regular-season series against the Chargers, who fell to 3-3-1 against CPIC opposition.

Sluggish play and missed opportunities on goal highlighted the opening half.

The tight confines of Wayne Country Day's field negated the Knights' ability to push the ball wide and extend the Charger defense.

Greenfield (12-5-2, 6-1 CPIC) couldn't cross the ball from either side to center midfield and had to rely on corner shots from the 18-yard box. The Knights missed back-to-back shots, which Ford batted away over the end line, in a one-minute sequence.

Wayne Country Day also ran its offsides trap to perfection and forced eight violations. The inability to finish combined with the offsides infractions drew the ire of veteran Knights' coach Ben Forbes -- and his players.

"It was frustrating ... definitely," said Tripp. "With these tight spaces, it's hard to adjust. The way we were playing just wasn't cutting it, either, especially on this field.

"Our attitudes ... we were just going through the motions and didn't really want to be out there playing."

The Chargers (10-5-1), meanwhile, failed to control any aspect of the game. Poor passing and misjudged balls in the midfield resulted in turnovers, and denied them any chance of generating attacks on goal.

"Greenfield kept possession of the ball, talked and communicated, won 50-50 balls and won balls in the air ... everything they're supposed to do to win a ball game," said WCDS coach Michael Taylor. "My guys had no energy and had no lack of soccer (knowledge) today. They acted like they didn't know what they were doing.

"They were just standing in space ... not making any runs."

Tripp changed the game's pace early in the second half.

Senior midfielder Jon Crook ripped a long ball down to Tripp outside the 18. Ford came off his line and jumped for the ball at the same time as Tripp.

The two collided, but Tripp managed to head the ball into goal in the 42nd minute. Ford tumbled to the ground.

"That was real big," said Tripp. "Scoring that goal knocked them down, picked us up a little bit and gave us some momentum. Then we get the second goal and by then their heads are down even further.

"You just keep going ... pounding at them."

Tripp converted his second goal nine minutes later. He picked up a thru ball from the midfield and dribbled toward the outside. Once the Chargers committed defensively, Tripp back-heeled the ball and moved more central toward goal.

Left wide open outside the penalty area, Tripp fired a right-footed strike toward the back post. Greenfield led 2-0.

Suggs concluded the scoring with a header toward the back post off Tripp's assist in the 61st minute. Forbes pulled his starters five minutes later to give them rest for today's non-conference match at 3-A power Rocky Mount Senior High.

"They're a tough team and get the ball up to their forwards for good shots, but I think our defense stepped it up this time," said Tripp.

The Chargers' Will Futrelle and Jeff Franklin each missed second-half headers that sailed over the crossbar. Eighth-grader Cameron Ford slipped attempting a left-footed shot and Sam Steed misfired on a penalty kick in the 74th minute.

"When you have a chance to score against a team like this, you've got to take advantage of it ... get the guys in the box, get the head on it and get the ball in the net," said Taylor. "That didn't happen today."

Notes: Greenfield is ranked No. 5 in the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A poll. ... The Knights owned a 21-10 edge in shots on goal. ... Ford and back-up keeper David Wilson combined for 13 saves for WCDS. ... Herring had four saves for Greenfield. ... The Chargers entertain defending NCISAA 1-A champion Faith Christian-Rocky Mount at 5 p.m. Friday.