04/29/09 — Knights deal No. 1 Chargers 1-0 setback

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Knights deal No. 1 Chargers 1-0 setback

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 29, 2009 1:46 PM

Perfect no more.

No. 1-ranked Wayne Country Day had its first blemish appear on its once-spotless record Tuesday afternoon.

Walker Finklea supplied the game's lone goal early in the opening half and Greenfield jousted the Chargers 1-0 in on the Coastal Plains Independent 1-A Conference girls soccer scene.

"Very crucial goal ... was the game right there," said long-time Greenfield head coach Ben Forbes. "That's the best game we've had team-wise all year. That's the best team we've played all year other than Fayetteville. We had seventh- and eighth-graders to play just as good as they could play today."

Greenfield (4-3-3 overall) evened the series 6-6 against the Chargers since 2005. Six of the contests have been decided by one goal.

While precious seconds ticked away in the second half, WCDS senior keeper Ellen Elmore groaned as her glove-covered hands covered her face. Exasperated as the outcome unfolded, Elmore encouraged her teammates to push up and pressure the goal.

"We don't have much time," shouted Elmore.

The Chargers (13-1-0) pressured the Greenfield goal and compiled a 22-6 advantage in shots. Eighth-grade keeper Sarah Bizzell recorded 15 saves and preserved the Knights' fifth shutout of the season.

"We took shot after shot, but I think a lot of it was wasted outside the 18," said WCDS head coach Baron Heinemann, whose team fell to 7-1-0 in the CPIC. "We simply settled into their game and not our game. It was a breakdown across the board from our style of play that we're accustomed to playing."

Finklea provided the game-winner in the 13th minute. The freshman midfielder picked up a loose ball outside the 18 and dribbled down the right sideline. She stopped and blasted a shot that sailed up into the upper left corner of the goal.

Elmore, who covered the near post, stood in disbelief as the ball curled inside the back post out her of reach. It was just the fifth goal allowed by the Chargers this season.

"It was a perfect shot," said Heinemann. "It couldn't have been (placed) any better."

Elmore recovered, but Greenfield (4-2-1 CPIC) protected its lead. Forbes contended his team didn't change its normal alignment to focus on defense. But the Knights constantly disrupted the flow of play and prevented Chargers eighth-grader Sarah Best from getting a clear shot on goal.

Best shares the team lead in goals scored for WCDS.

"They were nervous from the start and the seniors had Greenfield on their mind, that they couldn't lose to them their senior year," said Heinemann. "I told the girls that the only thing that separated them from a perfect season was their (own) head and they pysched themselves out today."

With a little help from Finklea.