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The Richard Frazier era has seen its first victory at The Brittany XIV.
Freshman Kristen Armstrong headed in a corner kick from junior Miriam Herrea with 5:04 remaining, lifting the Lady Warriors to a 2-1 victory on Field No. 2 — laden with turf — at Gillette Athletic Complex on Friday night.
In other contests involving teams from The Wilson Times readership area, Kill Devil Hills First Flight, now patrolled by Fike transfer Anne Elliott Taylor, used its superior passing to overwhelm the Lady Golden Demons 5-1.
Greenfield, missing four of its usual starters, lacked much of an offensive punch and bowed 3-0 to Goldsboro.
Saturday’s second round of games gets underway at 9:30 a.m.
HUNT 2, WESTERN GUILFORD 1
It’s been a common theme for the 3-A Big East Conference Lady Warriors (1-2-2) so far — tight games laden with defense. That didn’t change on a chilly night, but it did result in Hunt’s first victory of 2018. To date, Hunt’s results have been ties or one-goal outcomes.
Hunt scored in the opening minutes after junior Sophia Fox blasted a shot from roughly 20 yards out that deflected off the Western Guilford keeper. Armstrong was there to collect, and jammed it in for the early Hunt lead.
But with 27:53 to go, junior goalkeeper Rachael Cox was whistled for a foul in her box trying to go after a rebound. The 3-A Piedmont Triad Conference Hornets (1-1) were awarded a free kick on the fringe of the penalty area, which was converted.
However, Hunt, which drew a number of corner kicks with pushes into the Hornets’ defensive third, picked up the game winner on the Fox corner. The ball bounced once in the box before Armstrong slammed it away for her second tally.
“It seems like we’re forcing teams to stay outside, and we’re trying to keep our shape on defense,” Frazier said.
Hunt’s first-year coach credited the back-line effort of sophomore Alea Jones and Herrea with injuries to seniors Makala Brown and Madison Bass. The goalkeeping duties are currently a rotation of senior Madison Parker, who played in the first half, and Cox.
“The girls have been playing well,” Frazier said. “We’ve been in every ballgame we’ve played. It’s a matter of putting the ball in the net, and we were able to do that more than the other team tonight.”
FIRST FLIGHT 5, FIKE 1
The reunion was a spirited one for Taylor and her former Fike teammates, but at the end of the day, the Nighthawks flashed the offensive potency that stands to make them a contender for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2-A title.
Freshman Lauren Montgomery tallied a hat trick for First Flight as Fike (0-3) of the 3-A Big East Conference fell down 3-0 just 13:56 into play. It was the season opener for the 2-A Northeastern Coastal Conference Nighthawks, who won their conference title last season with an unbeaten record and reached the third round of the postseason.
“We expected good competition,” Fike head coach Toni Varacchi said. “We wanted to play them because Anne Elliott used to play for us. I thought it would be good for the team, and we knew we weren’t going to be very deep this year with the talent that we had and lost the last couple of years. It makes a big difference. It’s only our third game, and the first five games are top-quality competition.”
Fike’s deficit grew to 4-0 at the half after Brayleigh Jones scored off a deflection.
The Lady Golden Demons averted the shutout with 20:25 to play. Senior Reily Nelson up the sideline, and with no defense present, put a shot away from 15 yards. Montgomery capped her hat trick with 13:34 showing, dribbling up the middle and scoring at the top of the 18-yard box.
“It was definitely weird because I grew up with all of those girls,” Taylor said. “It was kind of hard to know that I was playing against my best friends, but it was fun.”
Varacchi lamented the lack of communication in Fike’s defensive third.
“We did a lot more ball watching than anything else,” Varacchi said. “We just got beat all over the place, and there wasn’t a whole lot of communication, especially in our back line. That just carried all the way up the field.”
As for Taylor, she expects her Nighthawks to be playing on the final day of the season in 2-A. But not without some quality time at the beach first.
“I love it!” she said. “We have some days that are like beach days, and we lay out. I got a tan, so that was nice.”
GOLDSBORO 3, GREENFIELD 0
Down four usual starters, the Lady Knights (2-2) were left in a counterattacking mindset against Goldsboro. Not much came to fruition as Greenfield of the 1-A Coastal Plain Independents Conference missed seventh grader Chloe Howard, eighth grader Libby Eagles, sophomore Kaelyn Wall and Faith Vick, a freshman.
“We knew that we would have a challenge in front of us tonight with the number of players available,” Greenfield head coach Randol Mendoza said. “But the team had a great attitude and stepped up to the challenge tonight.”
Goldsboro (3-1) of the 2-A East Central Conference got on the board 20 minutes in on a free kick from junior Hannah Williamson, which was high and out of the reach of junior keeper Sumer Hassan.
The score stood 1-0 into halftime, where Goldsboro’s Anna Prezbindowski ran onto a loose ball in the box and sent it past Hassan with 28:09 to play.
Hassan, who had nine saves, temporarily averted a three-goal deficit when she saved a penalty kick off the foot of Abilgail Lewis. However, with 10:34 to go, an unmarked McKayla Roberts flicked a shot up and over Hassan from the top of the box, capping the scoring.
“We tried to remain compact to defend well,” Mendoza said. “And then, we hoped we could score off a counterattack and we break down their defense on an individual run.