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Faith takes Lady Rams

AHOSKIE – A little cooperation from Mother Nature would be nice.

The Ridgecroft School girls soccer team has had to endure some bristly weather in its last couple of home matches and Tuesday was no different as chilly winds swirled under broken, grey cloudy skies at Mike Bryant Field. During their last home match back in March the Rans had to play in a cold, rainy drizzle.

This may be great soccer weather, but let’s not forget that this is supposed to be a spring-time game.

Nonetheless, the Lady Rams came up short by a couple of goals falling, 3-1, to Faith Christian of Rocky Mount. It was their fourth setback in Coastal Plains Independent Conference play.

“We’ve played in some pretty dismal weather environments so far this season,” said coach Aron Martin after the match, “but that’s one of the conditions of the game and both teams have to play in it, so you can’t use that as a crutch.”

Defensively, senior goal-keeper Caitlin Harrison turned in another outstanding performance of net-minding; turning away 15 shots. She positioned herself well around the net and because of that made several spectacular saves look easy.

After playing to a 1-1 tie at halftime the visiting Lady Patriots got a pair of second period goals to post their sixth win of the year against three losses and a tie while Ridgecroft fell below .500 to 4-5-1.

“We’re still a work in progress,” Martin added, “and slowly but surely we’re getting to where we want to be.”

Faith Christian came out aggressive from the opening kick, posting their first goal nine minutes into the match as Becky Griffin rebounded in a miss just past Harrison for a 1-0 lead for the visitors.

At a little under 30 minutes into the match that Ridgecroft got its first scoring opportunity as freshman Miller Bryant took a cross from Alex Riddick on the right side an rocketed a kick toward the twine, but the one-bounce attempt was stopped by Faith goal-keeper, Katie Brandt, to keep the home team off the scoreboard.

Six and a half minutes later, Bryant was undercut on a breakaway attempt. The resulting free kick bounced off the left sidebar, but was followed up right onto the waiting foot of teammate Bryce Harrison and Harrison’s strike into the net was good enough for the equalizer as Ridgecroft knotted the score at a goal apiece.

The two teams then played scoreless up to halftime.

“I felt anything could happen in the second half,” said Martin, “because (Faith) had a barrage of offensive opportunities, but the defense held up well.”

Eight and a half minutes into the second half, Faith got a corner kick that curled its way toward the goal and Harrison moved to her right to block it. The ball then took what seemed to be a lucky bounce for the Patriots and was picked up right in front of the net by Kaitlin Blalock for an easy score to put Faith back in front, 2-1.

Ridgecroft was limited to just two shots on goal in the half and between their attempts Faith’s Theresa Hall was able to sneak one past Harrison late in the match for what was the final margin of victory.

“I’m just glad to get away from here with a win,” said a relieved and smiling Faith coach Harold Rackley, “especially based on the way we played in the first half; but we were able to gain control in the second half to get this one.

“I compliment Ridgecroft” he added, “because they never quit and Aron has a young team.”

“They were attacking so much that they kept us on our heels,” said Martin. “I would have hoped for a more cohesive performance in the second half, but at times we just seemed a step behind. It’s hard to keep your organization when you’re constantly under attack.”

After three straight road matches Ridgecroft in home again on today (Thursday) when they entertain Hobgood Academy at Bryant Field in their final match before the Easter break. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.