04/11/12 — Slow-starting Eagles fall to North Johnston

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Slow-starting Eagles fall to North Johnston

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 11, 2012 1:48 PM

Same story.

Different team.

The comeback fell short this time.

Rosewood spotted long-time nemesis North Johnston a three-goal lead and nearly pulled off a stunning comeback on a breezy Tuesday evening at Branch Pope Field, but endured a 3-2 loss instead.

"We seem to come out flat every time we start a game, then we start to find a rhythm," RHS assistant coach Lewis Potter said. "It seems like every game we play, we're flat-footed the first five minutes. Maybe we need to come out and run five minutes before the game, and then we'll be ready to go."

North Johnston (6-6-0 overall) wasted little time getting on the board.

The Panthers controlled possession early, pushed the Eagles' defense into the penalty area and earned a corner kick. Early in the third minute, Katelynn Shirley ripped a shot from the left corner that bounced through one Rosewood defender's legs and past keeper Ellen Morgan into the net.

Six minutes later, Katlyn Hinton converted a free kick from 25-plus yards out that deflected off Morgan's gloves into the goal. Shirley added her second goal off Jessica Massengill's cross in the 6-yard box.

North Johnston led 3-0 just 131/2 minutes into the game.

Rosewood (2-3-2) regrouped and started to connect on passes during the next 20-plus minutes. The Eagles forced the Panthers to play between the 18-yard boxes and finally caught a break in the 23rd minute.

Junior Logan Bill directed a corner kick into the penalty area and Kerri Jo Gurley delivered her first goal of the season. It was Bill's team-high third assist of the year.

The Eagles didn't make any significant adjustments at halftime, but played with more spirit and matched the Panthers' physical style in the final 40 minutes.

"Something kicked in, I guess," Potter said. "Everything that we told them in practice, it finally clicked. I think the girls wanted it more, started to play more aggressive and were a little more hungrier for the ball."

Rosewood owned a 7-2 edge in second-half shots and knocked in just one when Bill blasted a low liner past Hinnant that started off Marissa Hill's throw-in. It was Bill's fourth goal of the season and Hill's second assist.

Bill had a curling shot that clanged off the post and co-captain Rachyle McAlduff just missed driving home a cross from Bill as the clock tripped to triple zeros. Each team had 10 shots on goal for the game. Morgan logged five saves between the pipes, while Hinnant had three.