04/06/06 — Soccer - Eagles suffer first loss

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Soccer - Eagles suffer first loss

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on April 6, 2006 1:58 PM

LaGRANGE -- In a battle of unbeaten teams, North Lenoir erupted for three goals in a five-minute stretch late in the second half to claim a 5-1 win at home over Rosewood on Wednesday in Classes 1-A/2-A Carolina/Eastern Plains Conference action.

The Hawks improved to 12-0-1 overall and 3-0 in league play, while the Eagles (11-1 overall) slipped to 3-1 in the conference.

"This was very important for us. Not just to stay undefeated, but to play well against a good team," first-year North Lenoir coach Sara Pittelkau said.

North Lenoir, the three-time defending conference champions, controlled the first half offensively -- out-shooting Rosewood, 11-2 in the first 40 minutes.

Senior Katie Maloney opened the scoring 10 minutes into the match, when she received a pass near the top of the box, settled the ball to her right foot, then blasted a shot past Eagle goalie Molly Grantham to make it 1-0.

The Hawks had a handful of near misses before halftime but failed to increase their lead.

Rosewood rarely challenged North Lenoir goalie Febe Barraza as her defense, mixed with solid midfield play, made it difficult for the Eagles to generate an attack.

"They played a majority of the game on our defensive half of the field," Rosewood coach Eddie Maldonado said. "They were a lot faster and more aggressive than us. We never could build or generate any offense."

The Hawks went up 2-0 on Lindsay Walton's goal on an assist from Gabby Hill, just two minutes into the second half.

With 25 minutes left, Rosewood struck for its lone goal when leading-scorer Erin Thibodeau got loose behind North Lenoir's defense on a long pass from the midfield. Thibodeau took several dribbles, before firing a low left-footed shot past Barraza to the back post.

The goal, Thibodeau's 38th on the season, seemed to give Rosewood momentum. Keyed by midfielder, Stephanie Behrend, the Eagles managed much more possession in the middle stages of the second half as the game swiftly moved from end-to-end.

Still, Rosewood never equalized, while the Hawks found an extra burst of energy late in the league contest.

Maloney scored on an assist from Bright, who made a nice pass after saving a ball on the end line with 12 minutes left, while Walton finished a loose ball on the left wing three minutes later. With seven minutes left, Bright capped the scoring by knocking home a penalty kick after the Eagles were whistled for a handball in the box.

"We got it to 2-1 and the girls got a little more motivated and we started pushing it a little more, but we made a mistake in the back and they got a goal and it kind of deflated it us a little bat.

"From there, it was all downhill."

Grantham finished with eight saves in goal for Rosewood, including a couple of sliding saves off of her line in the second half. Barraza stopped three shots for the Hawks.

"We have a lot of speed, but it's just a matter of whether or not they want to show it," Pittelkau said. "We're getting toward the middle of the season, so we're getting a lot more team chemistry."

The Eagles travel to Princeton on Monday in conference play, while the Hawks travel to Kinston today in non-conference action.