Eastern Wayne posts seventh ECC shutout
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on April 25, 2006 2:09 PM
When the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference tournament starts next week for Eastern Wayne, the host Warriors should enter the event with plenty of confidence.
After a 2-0 shutout win over Charles B. Aycock on Monday, Eastern Wayne not only finished with an unbeaten record against ECC foes at home in the regular season, they also were unscored upon by league opponents at Little Big Horn.
In all, the Warriors (8-8-1 overall, 8-1 ECC) have seven shutouts in nine conference games and have outscored those teams by a 35-6 margin. Eastern Wayne, which swept a pair of games from the Falcons this year, will look to secure at least a share of the regular season title when it travels to Kinston on Wednesday.
"We've got 18 players that understand our system and play accordingly," Eastern Wayne coach Jörg Wagner said. "Everyone knows where they are supposed to go and that makes a big difference. To have a clean sheet seven times is quite remarkable."
Charles B. Aycock (5-11-2, 4-4-1), which has the inside track on the conference's third and final N.C. High School Athletic Association playoff spot, will travel to Southern Wayne either today or Wednesday. The game date was unavailable at press time.
Monday's contest saw the home team control the ball on their offensive end for most of the 80 minutes. The Warrior defense was able to push up near midfield from start-to-finish and consistently played passes ahead to the offense.
By game's end, Eastern Wayne owned a whopping, 20-2 edge in shots -- out-shooting the Golden Falcons 10-1 in each half.
For Wagner, the one negative was his team's inability to finish more than a handful of close looks on goal. Of the Warriors 10 shots in the first half, only three were "on frame."
Eastern Wayne junior Samantha Fraser, who scored both goals, tallied her first goal on a long shot from outside the box on the left side. With 22 minutes left in the half, Fraser received a short pass from Natalie Taylor on a corner kick, took a dribble, then fired right-footed past Aycock goalie Emily Stewart.
Fidler's squad's nearest miss came 12 minutes into the match when a shot by Rebekka Katko inside the box hit the right post and bounced out of play. Katko and Amanda Schlaeppi, Aycock's leading scorers, battled for loose balls but often were surrounded by several Warrior defenders through the game.
"We just have to get some of our young girls to transition from offense to defense. We've got to be hungry and look for more chances," Aycock coach John Fidler said. "I'd rather be whistled offsides five times than only have two chances."
The Warriors put more pressure on Stewart in the second half, but simply, their shots were far from sharp around the goal.
"I was a little disappointed in the amount of goals, but in the end, we'll take it," Wagner said. "We had plenty of chances, and I thought defensively we contained them."
Midway through the second half, Fraser tallied her 19th goal of the season with a left-footed shot that knicked off Stewart's gloves near the post and landed in the net -- pushing the score to its final margin.
Jennifer Bircher, Carol Reinier, Crystal Lemmon, Tija Riley and Samantha Roth turned in solid defensive efforts for Eastern Wayne. Warrior goalie Brittany Spence had just one save in her seventh shutout of the season.
Stewart had nine saves in goal for Aycock -- including an impressive stop late in the second half on a shot over her head from close range that she lunged to slap over the goal. Stewart and the Falcons' defense will have sweeper Lizzie Sodoma, who has missed several games due to a school trip, back for the remainder of the season starting today.
The conference tournament begins on Saturday with the top two teams receiving a bye into the semifinals on Monday, May 1.
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