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Rams close excellent season

AHOSKIE – An excellent season came to an end Tuesday.

Ridgecroft School ended their stellar 2007 soccer campaign with a 4-1 loss in the quarterfinal round of the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association state tournament.

“We had a bit of a gap between our last game and this one,” third-year skipper Aron Martin said. “We worked hard on a specific game plan.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t adhere to it,” he continued. “It cost us. We had defensive lapses and dug a hole for ourselves.”

The Rams indeed found themselves down 4-0 at the intermission, but never quit trying to get back into the contest.

James Dawson tallied all four goals for Statesville Christian, scoring one in the early going and then adding another mark with 12:28 to play in the first half.

Statesville had another opportunity moments later, but Ridgecroft senior defender Matthew Jones made a great save to keep the ball out of the net.

From there, the Rams got four scoring opportunities, but couldn’t quite find the back of the net.

Hanes Joyner missed just wide left with 7:40 to go and then missed wide right on a pass from Josh Morris with 6:29 to play.

Statesville keeper Daniel DeGraff had two more saves over the course of the next two minutes to keep the Rams at bay.

With just 3:12 to play in the first half, Dawson stuck a dagger through the hearts of the Rams’ faithful when he scored again. He then added his fourth goal as time expired in the first half.

“I take full responsibility as a coach,” Martin said. “We weren’t ready to play and that’s my fault.”

The Rams did battle in the second half, however, as they got their only goal from Patrick Dilday with 17:51 to play in the second half.

They seemed well on the way to getting back in the game when Joyner hit the left post with 11:13 to play, but it was the last good shot on goal for Ridgecroft.

“We had a good season,” Martin said. “It was probably better than most people expected. I’m proud of their effort.”

The Rams did indeed have a fine season recording a 17-2-1 overall mark and a second place finish in the Coastal Plains Independent Conference.

As he reflected on the season, Martin said he appreciated the efforts of everyone at Ridgecroft.

“My hats are off to the boys, their parents and all our supporters,” he said.