Rams hit for one dozen

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 22, 2007

AHOSKIE – A little incentive can go a long way – sometimes all the way into the back of a soccer net.

That might’ve been the inspiration for the Ridgecroft School Rams Tuesday in their 12-0 shelling of Hertford County in the Bears’ high school soccer season opener.

A crowd of nearly 100 braved the 90-plus degree temperature to see the Rams run their record on the season to 3-0.

Ridgecroft entered the contest coming off a pair of wins in their own Ridgecroft Invitational Tournament last weekend, including knocking off North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association fourth-ranked Fayetteville Christian 1-0 in the championship match. 

A win that should have garnered the Rams some consideration in the latest NCISAA poll released Monday, but when the new tally was released, the Rams were nowhere to be found – not even in honorable mention.

Woe unto their next opponent.

Unfortunately, that turned out to be the Bears, who were making their season debut under co-coaches Steve Popadich and John Kilsheimer at the old Ahoskie High School Field.

It didn’t take the Rams long to sharpen their horns as they scored three minutes into the contest and never let up from there, accumulating a dozen goals en route to the rout as every Rams player saw action on the pitch.

Sophomore midfielder Miles Harrell led the Rams’ attack, scoring a pair of goals each in both halves, and fellow sophomore goalkeeper Ethan Phelps made the shutout stand up with over a dozen spectacular saves. 

About the only blemish to the win was the red-card ejection of senior defender Logan Kinlaw with about four minutes to go in the first half. Kinlaw will possibly have to miss an upcoming Rams game.

&uot;I was glad we were able to get in lots of players today that had not seen a significant amount of playing time,&uot; said Coach Aaron Martin afterward.  &uot;Unfortunate in having one of our defenders ejected, but we moved on from there and just adapted our style to the conditions of the match.&uot;

Hanes Joyner opened the scoring with the first goal and later added another in the half while Patrick Dilday and Miles Newbern tallied a goal each for a 3-0 start.

Then Harrell got the first of his pair of netters in the half with one coming on a throw-in from Josh Morris on a rainbow kick as the Bears’ defenders floundered helplessly in front of the net. 

A solo shot later from Rob Deans gave the Rams a 7-0 score at the break, and Martin then began liberally substituting and gave everyone a chance to get some quality playing time.

The Bears came out more aggressively in the second half, opening the frame with Edwin Joyner finding a wide-open Brandon Warren. But Rams Phelps stretched to the post on the right side of the goal and snuffed the shot to keep the shutout alive.

Phelps stopped eight shots in the second half while his teammates did more damage at the other end of the field. 

Harrell got another quick pair of goals, the final shot coming on a breakaway as he weaved his way through several Bears defenders before Hertford County goalie Travis Ellis zigged when he should have zagged. As the twine rattled on the shot, it was 9-0, Ridgecroft.

Joyner later picked up his third and final goal of the afternoon as he took a pass from Asher Turner, made a turn on his dribble to fake the defender and his goal made it 10-0. 

After a Matthew Jones kick clanged off the left post, Patrick Dilday scored the last of his two goals for the 12-0 final, and with over ten minutes to go in the contest coach Martin cleared the bench and the win was secured.

Hertford County saw several shots sail wide while some others rattled off the post, but the Bears were never able to tally a goal. 

Hertford County will try to get on the winning board Thursday when they travel to Merry Hill to meet Lawrence Academy.

&uot;We’re young and aggressive out here,&uot; said Bears co-coach Kilsheimer after the match as the sweat beaded up on his forehead, &uot;and even though we did not play as well as we thought we would this game is going to make us a better team. 

“Tonight taught us a lot, taught the new players a lot, and we’ll be better when we go out Thursday against Lawrence,&uot; he added. 

&uot;It’s great to have a 3-and-0 record,&uot; mused coach Martin, &uot;but we’re heading into the toughest 1-A conference in the state, with several of those teams ranked in the Top-5, and we need to keep ourselves in a position to remain competitive.&uot;

The Rams head to Kerr-Vance Academy for that first conference match Friday at Henderson.  They may not be ranked, but they’ll be coming into the match with plenty of respect.