Falcons stun No. 2 Hunt
By Steve Roush
Published in Sports on May 2, 2006 2:23 PM
The highly-anticipated rematch between regular-season Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference girls soccer co-champions Eastern Wayne and Wilson Hunt will have to wait until next spring.
C.B. Aycock made sure of it.
Senior Rebekka Katko delivered the game-winning goal in the 76th minute and the Golden Falcons stunned the second-seeded Warriors 2-1 at Little Big Horn on Monday evening. The victory sets up an all-Wayne County battle with archrival Eastern Wayne for the inaugural ECC championship at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Eastern Wayne, the top seed, prevailed 4-0 against fourth-seeded Wilson Beddingfield.
The Golden Falcons (7-11-2) turned in their most-impressive effort of the season and snapped an 11-game skid against Hunt in conference play.
Aycock's lone hiccup defensively occurred 66 seconds into the contest. Sophomore Astin Barnes received a throw-in from the sideline and dropped a pass to Alex Calvert. A junior striker, Calvert easily gained possession and dribbled between two Aycock defenders into the penalty area.
Calvert ripped a low, goal-scoring shot -- her 22nd of the season -- toward the back post.
"It was a total shock and we realized right then we had to step it up," said Aycock's Lizzie Sodoma of the early deficit. "It was a reality check. We knew we had to step up if we wanted to win this game."
The Golden Falcons played steady from that point and Sodoma notched the equalizer with three minutes remaining before halftime. Sodoma received a pass from Amanda Schlaeppi off a throw-in and lofted a 30-yard shot toward the goal.
The ball sailed over the out-stretched gloves of keeper Monica Campbell and settled into the back of the net.
"Amanda just gave me a quick-drop pass and lifted my head up real quick before I took the shot," said Sodoma, who has eight goals this season. "It was great. I had been taking a lot of shots and that finally dropped in."
Each team pressured the goal throughout the second half.
Campbell collected three of her four saves, while Aycock senior Emily Stewart stopped Hunt's lone direct shot on goal. Calvert misfired on two shots that rolled just wide of the post, while another shot sailed between the crossbar and the football goalpost.
As time quickly dwindled and the pace quickened, the Golden Falcons caught Hunt napping on a free kick. Sodoma drilled a 50-yard pass downfield that settled at Katko's feet. Katko avoided a slide tackle and dribbled with her right foot toward goal.
Katko, like Sodoma earlier, lofted a perfect ball about 25 yards from the net. Campbell defended the near post, but misjudged Katko's shot and back-pedaled toward the far post. The ball dropped over Campbell's head and into goal for the 2-1 finale.
"For Lizzie to take a goal kick and clear a ball all the way across midfield automatically sets up our offense," said Golden Falcons head coach John Fidler. "If it doesn't set up our offense, at least it keeps the play down at their end of the field.
"We have to push the ball up somehow."
Aycock clinched the league's third automatic berth for the upcoming N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs. If the Golden Falcons upend Eastern Wayne in the finals, they'll climb to No. 2 and drop Hunt to No. 3.
"Coach said this game was important for our playoff seeding, but in the end to just have fun," said Sodoma. "He said if we played our game, we'd come out on top."
The Golden Falcons did.
Eastern Wayne (10-8-1) benefited from an early-game "own" goal and blanked Beddingfield (12-7-1) for the third time this season. The junior tandem of Natalie Taylor and Sam Frazer combined for three goals within a 40-minute span on Senior Night.
Veteran coach Jörg Wagner didn't tag the win "impressive," but certainly heaped praise on a defense which shut out an ECC opponent for the ninth time in 11 tries this season. Sophomore keeper Brittany Spence has yielded just six goals -- an average of 0.55 -- in 840 minutes of play.
"I was very pleased with our defensive effort on Lindsay DeRatt, who in my opinion, is one of the top two or three players in the conference," said Wagner, whose team allowed three shots on goal -- none by DeRatt. "Beddingfield, not counting the Hunt loss, consistently give us the most match-up problems.
"They're well-coached and dangerous at all times."
The Warriors, who have won six of their last seven home games, played aggressive on every possession and tallied their first goal off a set piece. Frazer curled a goal-scoring, free kick toward the back post from 18 yards out for a 2-0 advantage.
Early in the second half, Frazer got loose down the right sideline and fired a cross toward senior Deniz Alemdar at the far post. Alemdar chipped a pass to Taylor, who blasted a goal-scoring shot back across the goal mouth to the back post.
Taylor tallied the final goal, a rebound off Campbell in goal, in the 59th minute.
Eastern Wayne seized the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye for the NCHSAA playoffs.
Next, however, is C.B. Aycock. The Warriors swept the regular-season series and surrendered just one goal in 160 minutes of play.
"It's extremely difficult to beat somebody three times," said Wagner. "It's definitely going to be a close game. They'll bring everything they have."
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