04/17/13 — Knights, Chargers duel on soccer pitch

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Knights, Chargers duel on soccer pitch

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on April 17, 2013 1:47 PM

What started as a shootout turned into a stalemate.

Archrivals Wayne Country Day and Greenfield combined to score five goals in the first 13 minutes on Tuesday afternoon. The Knights hung on for a 5-3 Coastal Plains Independent 1-A Conference road win.

The opening stages of the game featured plenty of attacking possession as both defenses were pressured in the early going. Cameron Johnson scored off Claire Dixon's assist in the sixth minute to give Greenfield a 1-0 lead.

The Chargers answered a minute later as Sarah Best dribbled through the defense and beat Knights' keeper Hadlea Finklea in the top corner of the goal.

Greenfield continued to work passes forward and harass the Wayne Country Day defense. Dixon beat Chargers' keeper Bailee Creger with a high shot in the 10th minute to put the Knights in front 2-1. Johnson won a loose ball inside the 18-yard box and fired a shot past Creger in the 12th minute as the lead grew to 3-1.

Wayne Country Day wasted little time responding as Best unleashed a shot from long range that got past Finklea to pull the Chargers to within 3-2 in the 13th minute.

"We started out answering," Wayne Country Day head coach Paul Casey said. "They scored, we answered right back. They scored again and we answered right back. I thought we had what it took. The game did slow down for both sides and I don't exactly know what the key is there."

The pace of the game slowed down as both teams began to settle in midway through the opening half. Neither team generated a quality scoring chance until Johnson was awarded a penalty kick in the 32nd minute. Johnson's shot was out of Creger's reach and Greenfield led 4-2 at halftime.

The Chargers made some defensive adjustments and substitutions in the second half which appeared to work as the Knights struggled to produce the same type of pressure they created in the first 40 minutes. Wayne Country Day also found scoring opportunities scarce until late in the game.

After Johnson's third goal of the game increased Greenfield's advantage to 5-2 in the 65th minute, the Chargers began to play with urgency.

Wayne Country Day (5-3-1) began winning balls in the midfield, getting support from its defense and finding attacking forwards in space. Best cut the deficit to 5-3 in the 67th minute with a goal off Margaret Tanner's assist on what proved to be the Chargers' last attempt at a comeback.

"We had to make some moves to get some offense going in the second half and we just couldn't get it other than that one goal," Casey said. "I think they kept us back on our heels so much it was just tough for us to get anything going."

Wayne Country Day entertains Epiphany on Friday.