Eastern Wayne falls to Northern nash
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on May 14, 2009 1:46 PM
It isn't the two soft goals his team let up or the missed scoring opportunities that Eastern Wayne head coach Jorg Wagner will remember about his team's season-ending loss Wednesday evening.
The Warriors dropped a 2-0 decision to Northern Nash in opening-round play of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A women's soccer playoffs.
Wagner, instead, will remember when his team rallied after senior captain and defensive general Anna Hajjar left the game with a first-half knee injury. He'll also recall the way his team never stopped pressuring the Knights' defense throughout the second half.
Eastern Wayne held a 6-2 advantage in shots during the second 40 minutes of play and an 8-6 edge overall.
"With what we had available to us in the second half I thought we played well," said Wagner. "I thought we deserved one goal and maybe even two. You can't expect your back line and your keeper to bail you out game after game. We have to have players in the front come forward and score in games like this."
Trailing 1-0 after halftime, the Warriors became the aggressor. Gracie Russo's shot in the 44th minute sailed just over the crossbar.
Northern Nash extended its lead to 2-0 in the 47th minute when Kimberly Williams' blast from well outside the 18-yard box rattled the bottom of the crossbar.
Eastern Wayne keeper Deborah Doran quickly scooped up the loose ball, but not before the assistant referee on the near side signaled the ball had crossed the goal line. Doran pleaded her case to no avail as the Knights (16-6-0 overall) increased their lead.
"That second goal was very difficult to call from where the linesman was I thought," said Wagner. "You could argue about that goal for quite a while but in the end you're not going to win that argument."
Eastern Wayne (7-7-4) continued to build momentum offensively and earned a corner kick in the 53rd minute. Wagner moved the speedy Janielle Daniel from the defense up to forward in hopes of creating matchup difficulties for Northern Nash.
Daniel's shot in the 63rd minute flew just inches over the crossbar and her header off a corner in the 65th minute missed wide of the goal. The Warriors mounted one last attack off a corner kick in the 71st minute, but couldn't convert.
Eastern Wayne finished with a 7-2 edge in corner kicks.
"With Anna coming out of the back with an injury, we were a little limited with what we could do," said Wagner. "We rotated Janielle to the front and Danielle (Daniel) to the midfield and it worked out, not on the scoreboard necessarily, but that's been the problem in this game all night.
"We got a lot of shots but the quality just wasn't there."
Haley Claytor collected a rebound and scored to give the Knights a 1-0 lead after Doran dropped Williams' long free kick in the 35th minute.
The Warriors finished 3-2-1 during their final six games, including a strong showing in a 1-0 loss at Wilson Hunt in the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference tournament championship. That performance, coupled with the effort he witnessed from his team in the second half on Wednesday, is the lasting image Wagner will take away from the 2009 campaign.
"This is an excellent group to work with," said Wagner. "They try to put into play what we teach them. Losing at Hunt 1-0 with a very controversial penalty kick not giving for us it was a very good effort. We defended as well if not better than we had all year.
"If we had a little more scoring then we could have made a trip to the beach for the second round to see if we could do it again."
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