03/29/07 — Rosewood stays unbeaten with win over Princeton

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Rosewood stays unbeaten with win over Princeton

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 29, 2007 1:48 PM

Although the overall outcomes have been favorable, Rosewood women's soccer coach Eddie Maldonado remains concerned about his team's early-season success on the field.

The Eagles have yet to play a complete game, and continue to struggle with communication and organization on offense.

Despite those early misgivings, Rosewood remained unbeaten in five outings with a 2-1 decision over archrival Princeton at Branch Pope Field on Wednesday evening. Senior Rachel McCormick supplied the game-winning goal in the 78th minute to give the Eagles their third victory against no defeats in the series with the Dawgs.

"We didn't have a good week of practice last week and I told the girls we have to pick it up because we're starting to see some good teams now," said Maldonado. "Princeton is much improved from last year. I'm glad the competition in the conference is getting better.

"At the same time, I have high expectations from my team and I expect a lot more out of them. They were excited they won, but they knew I wasn't pleased with their performance."

Rosewood (5-0, 2-0 C/EPC) left too many goals on the field in the 80-minute skirmish. The Eagles clanged five shots off the crossbar and posts, misfired on seven corner kicks and wasted an indirect kick in the opening half.

Maldonado said his team didn't knock the ball around to spread the Princeton defense and, at times, seemed to stage an old-fashioned game of kickball.

"Whoever got the ball would see who could kick it the farthest and it didn't matter who it was going to," said Maldonado. "I'm a little disappointed in our play because I don't think we linked up more than three passes at a time. It's like we didn't work as a team."

Princeton (2-6, 2-3) played with constant pressure from beginning to end and gave a strong effort on the defensive side of the field. Sophomore Morgan Brush turned in a superb performance at sweeper and protected back-up goalie Christi Mileski when there was congestion in the penalty area. Mileski filled in for senior Sarah Gibbs, who is out for three weeks with mono.

Brush had two defensive-back clears on Eagle shots late in the opening half which preserved the Dawgs' one-goal advantage provided by Olivia Booker in the 30th minute.

McCormick answered in the 39th minute with an unassisted goal.

Missed opportunities plagued Rosewood in the second half, while Princeton seemed comfortable with playing defense and pushing forward only when it had a clear attack on goal. The Bulldogs got a cleat on every throw-in and Brush continued to clear balls with ease from inside the 18-yard box.

"Princeton outhustled us all night long and looked like they were organized as a team, working pretty well," said Maldonado.

The Eagles kept plugging away and got a 3-on-2 opportunity as precious seconds ticked away. Junior midfielder Mary Jo Moore ran onto a ball near midfield and pushed toward the box with Gabrielle Cornman on the left and McCormick on the right.

Brush forced Moore to pass to Cornman, who found McCormick one-on-one with Mileski. Mileski covered the near post in anticipation of a low shot, but she left too much net open. McCormick curled a right-footed shot toward the upper left post and protected Rosewood's perfect record.

"That's probably one of our weaknesses, defending late in the half," said second-year Princeton head coach Tim Basil. "That's not the first time that's happened this season. Who knows if our other keeper would have had that.

"You can play 'what if's' all day long."

Maldonado did applaud his team's work ethic late in each half.

"I guess that shows we're going to stay (on the field), going to dig and fight for everything we can get," he said. "It might not be pretty, but we're going to work. I'm pleased with the girls on that effort, at least."

Princeton 1 0 -- 1

Rosewood 1 1 -- 1

First half

PHS -- Booker (unassisted), 30th

RHS -- McCormick (unassisted), 39th

Second half

RHS -- McCormick (Cornman assist), 78th

Shots on goal -- Rosewood 18, Princeton 1. Corner kicks -- Rosewood 7, Princeton 0. Fouls -- Rosewood 8, Princeton 1. Offsides -- Rosewood 3, Princeton 0. Saves -- Rosewood (Johnson 0), Princeton (Mileski 1).

Records: Rosewood 5-0, 2-0 Carolina/Eastern Plains 1-A/2-A; Princeton 2-6, 2-3.