05/14/06 — Jacksonville eliminates Eastern Wayne from 3-A women's soccer playoffs

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Jacksonville eliminates Eastern Wayne from 3-A women's soccer playoffs

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on May 14, 2006 2:17 AM

A respectable result.

Perennial eastern North Carolina power Jacksonville defeated Eastern Wayne 4-1 in the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A women's soccer playoffs on Friday. But veteran coach Jörg Wagner was pleased his team never quit and battled the Cardinals of the tough Mideastern 3-A/4-A Conference.

"To the girl's credit, they didn't stop. They kept chasing, and we tried to make life difficult for them," said Wagner, who's team finished 10-10-1 overall after capturing the Eastern Carolina Conference regular-season title for the first time since 2002.

Jacksonville (14-6-4) -- a wild-card team -- faces either Wilson Hunt (12-8-1) or Wilson Fike (22-0) on the road in the eastern semifinals next week.

"Playing in our conference helps and we always try to play tough games in non-conference," Jacksonville coach David Miller said. "Our schedule helped us a lot in the boys' playoffs this year, and we're hoping it will pay off with the girls as well."

The Cardinals went up 3-0 at halftime but only one of the goals proved to be out of the flow of the game.

Jacksonville struck for its first goal three minutes into the game as sweeper-turned-midfielder, Carolyn Handy, booted in a long direct kick from the left side that sailed over the head of Eastern Wayne goalie, Brittany Spence.

Fifteen minutes later, the Cardinals went up 2-0 when a long throw-in deflected off the head of a Warrior defender and over Spence's head. The ball rolled toward the back post and was accidentally kicked into the goal by another Eastern Wayne defender when she tried to clear it out.

"The early goals make it all the more difficult when you're playing a quality opponent," Wagner said. "But our response was fantastic. We didn't let our heads hang down. From a confidence standpoint, this was not a bad game."

Spence was injured and had to leave the game shortly after the second goal when a Cardinals' player ran into her chasing after a loose ball. The Jacksonville player was issued the first of her team's three yellow cards in the opening half.

With Carol Reinier in goal for Spence, Jacksonville tallied its final goal with 15 minutes left in the half as Jordan Colville ran down the left side and scored on a through-pass from the top of the box by Handy. Reinier finished with seven saves in just 15 minutes of work in the goal.

Eastern Wayne's only shot nearly resulted in its first goal.

On a direct kick from outside the box on the left side, Samantha Fraser's shot hit the top bar and was eventually cleared out by the Jacksonville defense.

The Cardinals owned a 9-1 advantage in shots before intermission and a 19-2 advantage for the game.

"We know from the start we were going to half to play slightly different. We played with an extra midfielder to try to keep a tight score," Wagner said. "I thought maybe we could do that, but the score got away from us when they got it to 3-0."

Nearly 15 minutes into the second half, Fraser came through on her second direct kick attempt try. Shooting from the right side and outside the box, the junior booted in a low shot to the near post -- just under the gloves of Cardinals' goalie Sarah Chadwick to make it 3-1.

The shot would prove to be the last of the match for the Warriors, who could rarely generate an offensive attack with Jacksonville's defense pushed up near midfield for most of the game.

Still, Eastern Wayne's midfield and defense continued to contain the visitors from Onslow County as most of the Cardinals' shots were from long range and on the wings through the game, especially after halftime.

Jacksonville's only goal of the second half came with 18 minutes left when Jessica Barton got behind the Warrior defense and knocked in a shot left-footed and past Spence, who finished with five saves in the second half.

The Warriors graduate just two starters off of their Eastern Carolina Conference championship team -- midfielder Deniz Alemdar and sweeper Jenn Bircher. Helen Baddour, Sarah Carpenter, Mindy Gilmore and Catie Miller also played in their final games for Eastern Wayne.

Notes: The Warriors made their fifth straight playoff appearance ... All three of the Warriors' leading scorers were juniors -- Fraser finished with 22 goals on the season, while Natalie Taylor had 18 and Kasie Edwards scored six ... Jacksonville defeated Eastern Wayne by scores of 7-1 and 5-2 in the regular season.