05/08/10 — Warriors win ECC tournament title

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Warriors win ECC tournament title

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 8, 2010 11:44 PM

Eastern Wayne owns all the bling.

Brandi Dean provided the game-winning goal in the 66th minute, and the Warriors captured the 2010 Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference women's soccer tournament crown with a 1-0 decision over county nemesis Charles B. Aycock on Friday evening.

"It was very hardfought, definitely," said Eastern Wayne head coach Jorg Wagner. "We weren't the better team today, we were the more fortunate. You've got to give Aycock credit for playing very well defensively.

"I told our team they can thank each other a little bit for playing well defensively, and then having Brandi show up at the right time with a little poke ... like she's done all year."

Dean scored her 22nd goal of the season and gave Eastern Wayne (12-4-0 overall) its first double-double -- the regular-season and tournament championship in the same year. The Warriors have appeared in all five ECC finals, but had won just one title -- in 2007.

C.B. Aycock (13-7-3) was making just its second trip to the ECC championship since 2006. The Golden Falcons pulled off a stunning upset of the higher-seeded Warriors that evening at Little Big Horn.

"We knew this would, of course, be an even match and it (the win) would go to probably whoever scored first," said Golden Falcons assistant coach Adam Livengood. "We felt like we might have to have a lucky break or breakdown somewhere. We had our opportunities, but we couldn't get the ball in."

Each team attempted six shots on goal.

But Dean's strike counted the most.

As the intensity increased and play became a little chippy, Dean finally sneaked past Aycock's Taylor DeMartini and found an open seam toward the goal. Keeper Courtney Sheeks came off her line into the middle of the box and Dean ripped a low, one-touch strike toward the far post.

"I just sprinted really hard to the keeper and got there first," said Dean. "Taylor and Caroline gave me a hard time all night long. Every time we play them, it gets harder and harder."

It was Dean's sixth game-winning goal of the season.

"She's a good player and she's going to find a way (to score)," said Livengood. "I do think we stopped her normal attack ... tried to get them out of their game. We did our defensive assignments (well) and were able to cover them up on the field."

The Golden Falcons misfired on two goal-scoring opportunities off corner kicks in the closing minutes. Warrior keeper Danielle Daniel brilliantly saved each ball and preserved her 10th shutout of the season.

Eastern Wayne improved to 12-3-2 all-time against Aycock since 2005. It was the ninth meeting decided by one goal.

"We told our girls they have nothing to feel bad about," said Livengood. "Eastern Wayne played an excellent game. Losing is never fun, but if you're going to lose, I'd rather lose in a hard fight where we're in it until the end."