Rams down PCHS

Published 5:43 pm Wednesday, March 16, 2011

AHOSKIE – Cool days, hot start.

The Ridgecroft School girl’s soccer team ran their record on the young season to 2-0 Tuesday with a 3-1 win over Pasquotank High School at Mike Bryant Field.

The Lady Rams broke open a 1-1 contest with a pair of second half goals for the victory. Mary-Joe Harrell found the back of the net twice in the contest and Elizabeth Joyner with a solo goal accounted for the Ridgecroft scoring.

Chloe Ramjohn, with a free kick in the second half, accounted for the lone goal for the Lady Panthers (0-4).

Ridgecroft outshot the visitors 7-to-4, with Lady Rams goal-keeper Haley Rivera turning away six shots. Despite the shot imbalance, the Rams failed to capitalize on several attempts within the box; though Lady Panthers’ keeper, Deserae Perry, only let three shots get by her.

“That’s one of the things we’ve been working on in training,” said Ridgecroft mentor Aron Martin, “is finishing those opportunities we should tuck away.

“And it’s early in the season,” he added, “so we’re going to miss some of those because we’ve got some exceptionally young players, too.”

Ridgecroft came out aggressively from the opening kick. Harrell’s first effort sailed wide and a minute and a half later Joyner’s first effort banged off the cross-bar.

Alex Riddick and Miller Bryant had two more attempts each for the Rams that went awry before Harrell sidestepped a defender at the seventeenth minute and drilled in a shot past the diving Perry and put Ridgecroft on the board first, 1-0.

The Rams’ next chance at scoring came on a corner kick at the 35th minute by Bryant.  While the ball skidded away from the Pasquotank defenders, Hennie Larabee’s follow-up of a rebounded effort was snuffed and the Panthers remained within a goal.

Bryant and Harrell had two more attempts before the break, but Pasquotank’s defenders were able to keep the ball away from finding the back of the net and the score was 1-0 at halftime.

Bryant took Ridgecroft’s first four attempts of the second half, two of which were near-direct shots on goal with one sailing wide right and another going over the crossbar.

At the 48th minute, Joyner pushed one toward the net and skipped it between the legs of the Panthers keeper for a 2-0 Ridgecroft lead.

Because they only dressed-out 12 players, leaving just one lone player to substitute, the length of the match began to take its toll on the Rams. Martin moved his players about like chess pieces, but Ridgecroft was whistled for several minor infractions leading to free kicks.

One of those efforts came in the 52nd minute for midfielder Ramjohn, who managed to bend one over the outstretched arms of Rivera and get Pasquotank on the scoreboard. The 2-1 game also sent a silence through the Ridgecroft faithful who suddenly sensed a new contest.

“Obviously we’re not a very deep roster with just one sub on the bench,” said Martin, “so we’re going to have to work on our fitness, our finishing and our offensive as well as defensive shape.

“We’re able to open up a lot of room on the right-hand side (of the field) with Alex Riddick with diagonal balls to the outside,” he added. “We just have to make sure we get ourselves on the end of the crosses that ensue and we have to be more aggressive in the box as well.”

After a 15-minute period where Ridgecroft did not attempt a shot, the Rams became aggressors once more and at the 69th minute, Harrell got her second goal of the afternoon to make it a two-goal lead once more .

The teams played to a draw in the last 10 minutes before the final whistle.  Ridgecroft did have one more attempt with a direct kick late, but could not capitalize.

“We need to be more aggressive in both boxes,” said Martin, “both when we’re defending and when we’re attacking. But for as young a group as we are to have come this far and to be 2-0 is very nice.

“I’m proud of their effort and I’m seeing some bright spots,” he concluded, “but I’m also seeing some things we need to be vigilant and work on.”

Ridgecroft now has return matches on the road with Hertford County and Pasquotank next week before hosting their first conference match with Epiphany School of New Bern back at Bryant Field on March 28.