04/23/13 — Princeton defense stifles Rosewood

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Princeton defense stifles Rosewood

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 23, 2013 1:47 PM

PRINCETON -- Defense wins championships.

Princeton certainly proved the adage on a cold, rainy Monday evening.

The Bulldogs claimed a 1-0 victory over archrival Rosewood on the Fred Bartholomew Athletic Complex pitch and seized sole possession of the Carolina 1-A Conference's top spot.

"I think our defense was phenomenal tonight," Princeton head coach Eusebio Montoya said. "They were great from the beginning, they didn't let up all the way through and I think our communication was the big part to keeping them scoreless."

The back four -- sweeper Lauren Woodard, Jenna Woodard, Jasmine Bombard and Abby Rubio -- spearheaded a defense that denied the Eagles open looks on goal throughout the 80 minute affair. Freshman Lexi Mercer drew either two or three white-shirted defenders most of the night, and didn't attempt a shot on goal.

Rosewood managed just two shots for the game.

Princeton goalie Amber Hill recorded her second consecutive shutout in conference play and sixth overall this season.

The Bulldogs collected their lone goal barely three minutes into the contest. Jessica Brush gained possession of the ball just outside the 18-yard box and fired a cross to a wide-open Jessica Hawley on the left side of the field.

Hawley took one dribble and ripped a right-footed shot that bounced off the post and past Rosewood keeper Rianna Allen into the net. Allen ended the night with seven saves.

"The goal took some pressure off of us," said Montoya, whose team had a 13-2 advantage in shots on goal. "I thought we could have put maybe two or three more in during the first half, and that could have changed things but it didn't.

"We've got to do a better job of finishing."

Princeton stepped into passing lanes, which disrupted Rosewood's offense in the opening half. The Eagles (6-4-0 overall, 2-1-0 CC) found a better offensive flow in the second half and received solid distribution from senior Logan Bill in the midfield.

But the Eagles couldn't manufacture a goal.

Ayanna Potter's shot just five minutes into the second half clanged off the post and Hill smothered it inside the 6-yard box. Five minutes later, Bill delivered a corner kick into the box, but a sliding Mercer couldn't get a cleat on the ball.

The Bulldogs (10-4-1, 3-0) misfired on several chances during the next 20-plus minutes until Peyton Whitley scored off Brush's assist with less than 60 seconds to go in the game.