05/08/08 — Warriors fall in opening round

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Warriors fall in opening round

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 8, 2008 3:13 PM

Eastern Wayne knocked on the door several times Wednesday evening.

Nobody answered.

The Warriors couldn't finish several attacks on goal and dropped a 1-0 decision to Southern Alamance in their N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A women's soccer playoff game at Little Big Horn.

The Patriots (11-8-1 overall) continue postseason play Saturday at No. 2-ranked and once-beaten Jacksonville White Oak. Eastern Wayne finished the year 10-8 overall and lost an opening-round playoff contest for the fourth time since 2003.

The Warriors had the advantage in one-on-one opportunities and played the 50-50 balls well. But Wagner's team misfired on six corner kicks and put just one shot on frame in the 80-minute contest.

An offsides infraction negated Crystal Lemmon's first-half goal. Southern Alamance keeper Karissa Kimery turned Lemmon away on a point-blank shot nearly midway through the second half.

"I thought we had enough chances to win the game and in that respect, it's disappointing," said Eastern Wayne head coach Jorg Wagner. "Defensively, when you allow one goal, you're definitely in the game. We lost this one on attack with chances going awry.

"We got through enough that we needed to finish and put one in the net. But that's soccer."

Southern Alamance got the lone goal it needed in the ninth minute.

A throw-in from the left side bounced into the box uncovered and toward the feet of Meredith Kelly. The junior ripped a right-footed blast, which curled just inside the near post and caught Eastern Wayne keeper Danielle Daniel flat-footed.

"We've been a second-half team all season," said Southern Alamance coach Michael Park. "(The strong start) actually surprised me and they stayed strong throughout the whole game. I was so worried about that as soon as the first half ended.

"I didn't want to watch the second half because I thought we were going to slow down. But we didn't at all."

The Patriots continued to organize attacks and use the width of the field to spread the Warriors' defense in the second half. Open passing lanes led to shots on goal against Daniel, who notched five second-half saves and six overall.

Eastern Wayne's troubles continued on offense. Two more offsides infractions halted potential one-on-one opportunities against Kimery and three corner kicks were wasted.

The futility gave Wagner a sense of deja vu.

"We had the same problem at Hunt in the (ECC) championship," said Wagner. "We're down 1-0, knocking on the door, but nobody's home. There was a lack of concentration overall, but you can credit that to good defensive play."

Southern Alamance earned its eighth shutout of the season.

It was the final game for Lemmon and fellow seniors Sam Rothwell, captain Kelsey Griffith, Brittany Spence, Mary Catherine Hollowell and Samantha Roth. The group led the Warriors to a second-place finish in Eastern Carolina Conference play despite losing keeper Brittany Spence and goal-scorer Brandi Dean late in the season.

"Overall, for the season, I thought they did a great job," said Wagner, who lost nine seniors in 2007. "They stepped up when they had to and there is a lot of heart on this team. I guess the better ... or luckier team won tonight."