Third-seeded Cyclones oust Chargers in semis
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 17, 2009 2:00 AM
WILSON -- Defending state champion Community Christian picked the right moment to exact revenge against perennial soccer power Wayne Country Day.
And once the Cyclones scored, they didn't stop.
Three Community players accounted for goals in a 4-1 conquest of the top-seeded Chargers during the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A women's soccer semifinals Friday afternoon. The third-seeded Cyclones faced Kerr-Vance for the state title Saturday evening.
The Chargers (16-2-0 overall) suffered their first-ever defeat in four meetings against the Cyclones and failed to advance beyond the semifinals for the fifth time since 2003.
"I read a quote once that said 'hard work always beats talent that doesn't work hard' and that is the most-fitting quote that can be applied to today's game," said WCDS head coach Baron Heinemann.
The Cyclones controlled play from the opening whistle and used the wide field to their advantage. The Chargers, for the second straight year, failed to adjust to the extra yardage and struggled to create an offensive rhythm.
Freshman midfielder Catherine Ford tried to navigate passes forward to Sara Best, Mack Thompson and Brooke Norris. But the kicks were either too long or intercepted by Community Christian defenders, who quickly turned the field and put pressure on the WCDS goal.
"We got lost in all that space," said Heinemann. "I think we really over-used the space, if that's possible, and took ourselves out of pass options."
Community Christian (14-2-1) broke the scoreless tie around the 24th minute. Sophomore Brittney Howell converted a direct kick outside the 18-yard box after a WCDS foul. The ball sailed over the fingertips of Chargers goalie Ellen Elmore and settled into the net.
About five minutes later, Howell supplied a successful penalty kick to put the Cyclones comfortably ahead 2-0.
Heinemann talked with the team at halftime about using space and spreading the Cyclones' defense across the field. The strategy worked about five minutes and helped lead to the Chargers' lone goal -- a PK by Norris.
Community Christian answered with back-to-back goals from eighth-grader Kathryn Smith and junior Graysen Smith.
"We got the penalty kick and then it all got flat again," said Heinemann. "I think we were more talented than that team and we have shown it game after game this season. I said early in the season the only thing that would hold this team back is chemistry and we had a bad game of chemistry.
"We just didn't work very well together."
The loss marked the season finale for six WCDS seniors -- Elmore (seven saves), Norris, Shelle Anderson, Kayla Flanagan, Rebecca Thompson and Danielle Holloman.
It was also Heinemann's final game. The 2009 Coastal Plains Independent Conference coach of the year, Heinemann has accepted a position at Rabun Gap, a private 3-A boarding school located in northwest Georgia.
In two seasons, Heinemann's girls teams compiled a sparking 29-6-2 record overall, which included two CPIC championships. His boys' teams were a combined 16-23-3 in two seasons and made two appearances in the NCISAA playoffs.
"I am proud of what I've been able to accomplish here," said Heinemann.
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