05/14/09 — NCSSM ousts Princeton

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NCSSM ousts Princeton

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 14, 2009 1:46 PM

PRINCETON -- Give it your all.

Fourth-year Princeton head coach Tim Besel offers that single phrase of encouragement each time his team steps onto the soccer pitch.

The Dawgs certainly gave their best effort Wednesday evening.

Brush notched a phenomenal 13 saves in goal, but Princeton couldn't generate a consistent offensive attack in its 1-0 loss to state-ranked N.C. School of Science & Math in opening-round play of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A playoffs.

"I couldn't have asked for more," said Besel. "I asked for the best game they've ever played and we got it tonight. Against a tougher opponent, we held strong throughout the night."

Brush kept the No. 11-ranked Unicorns (12-8-1 overall) off the board for nearly 30 minutes. The sophomore goalie stopped numerous point-blank range attacks and smothered one redirected kick destined for the lower right corner of the net.

NCSSM entered the game with 60 goals scored in 20 outings this season.

"Their keeper really had a great game," said Unicorns coach Henry Gallagher. "Our finishing wasn't really all that great. I try to encourage the girls to shoot, shoot, shoot. Sometimes they're on target and sometimes they're a field goal. I tell them if you get half a chance, take a shot."

The Unicorns finally scratched in the scoring column during the 30th minute. Junior Angela Cole picked up a loose ball near the 18-yard box and NCSSM spread the field to open passing lanes.

Cole kept her dribble and fired a shot that settled into the upper left corner of the goal. It was just the second goal allowed by Princeton in its last seven games.

"She made a nice goal," said Gallagher.

Princeton, the Carolina Conference champion, came up empty on two first-half scoring attempts. Long shots by Morgan Brush descended into the gloves of junior keeper Michelle Phillips, who logged her eighth shutout in goal this season.

The Dawgs (13-4-0) missed a game-tying chance in the final 45 seconds of the second half. Princeton suffered its third, one-goal shutout defeat of the season.

"It was a good, well-fought game that could have went either way," said Gallagher. "You don't feel good losing, but I hope they feel good knowing they played a good, strong game."

Princeton established single-season school records for victories (13) and shutouts (10). Besel's team claimed a regular-season series sweep against Rosewood for the first time in program history.

It was the final game for seven Bulldawg seniors -- Morgan Brush, Olivia Booker, Megan Denning, Anna Dougherty, Maegan Hewett, Nedda Summerlin and Holly White.