North Lenoir offense erupts on soggy pitch
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on September 15, 2006 2:17 PM
North Lenoir erupted for a season-best seven goals by five different scorers and posted a 7-2 win on the rain-soaked pitch at Rosewood on Thursday.
The loss was the Eagles first of the season as they slipped to 2-1-1 overall.
Up 2-0 at the half, the Hawks (2-5-2) tallied three goals in the first 12 minutes of the second frame as they consistently found openings in the Eagles defense to take a 5-0 lead.
George Walters, who started the season as North Lenoir's goalie, posted the first two goals of the second half, while teammate Dustin King added the fifth goal on a breakaway.
"We played well today," first-year Hawks coach Donell Garris said. "We've had a tough schedule, but since the Eastern Wayne game last week we've improved."
Rosewood's Taylor Allen got his team on the board 22 minutes into the second half when he followed up a missed shot off the post by Goss Kendall. Six minutes later, the Eagles' Elliott Lee capitalized on a penalty kick -- blasting a shot past North Lenoir goalie Bryce Grady to make it 5-2.
The visitors quickly took the momentum back in the final minutes as Cameron Beaman and Tyler Smith got into the act with goals two minutes apart to push the score to the final margin.
"How we played was inexcusable," Rosewood coach Daniel Mitchell said. "We got outplayed in every facet of the game by North Lenoir. They won every 50-50 ball. Every time you looked up someone in a black shirt had the ball."
It took both teams nearly half of the opening frame to adjust to the adverse field conditions as large puddles -- especially on the sidelines and in the corners -- made it difficult to maintain possession.
Twenty minutes into the half, the Hawks got on the board when midfielder Corey Johnson lofted a long shot on goal that sailed over the head of Rosewood goalie Will Grantham. The long attempt then bounced off the head of an Eagle defender and into the side of the net to make it 1-0.
Ricky Jarman boosted his team's lead to 2-0 as dashed down the left wing and scored left-footed on a pass from Smith.
"You have to capitalize on your opportunities, especially on a day like today," Garris said. "We made the best of a bad situation with the conditions."
Rosewood had a handful of early opportunities but failed to capitalize as Grady and the Hawks defense kept the Eagles scoreless until the middle stages of the second half.
Following the loss, Mitchell didn't use the tough playing conditions as an excuse for his team's performance.
"We were both on the same field ... they had to deal with it, too," he said. "They just outhustled us. We just weren't in the game from the start. No area was good tonight."
In a physically-played match, a combined 26 fouls were called and two yellow cards -- one on each team -- were issued. The Hawks had a slim 12-10 edge in shot attempts.
Grantham finished with six saves for Rosewood, while Grady stopped five shots for North Lenoir.
The Eagles look to bounce back on Monday at home against another Class 2-A Eastern Plains Conference foe, Greene Central. The Hawks face county rival South Lenoir on Tuesday.
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