Pack soccer falls in first roundPublished 9:06pm Thursday, May 9, 2013
With a win on the final day of the regular season the Washington soccer team scratched and clawed its way into the NCHSAA 3-A state playoffs, but its momentum would not carry over into the postseason as the Pam Pack fell 6-1 to Wilson-Hunt on Wednesday in the first round.
Boosted by the return of Christian Heggie, Washington (8-11-2) needed two wins in the final week of the regular season and got them as they powered past Coastal Conference rival South Central on Senior Night and then hit the road to beat another conference foe in West Carteret to earn a No. 5 seed in the playoffs.
The fifth seed put them on a path to play a top-seeded Wilson-Hunt team that won the Big East Conference with a 16-2 record and the Warriors lived up to their billing as the buckled down on defense to hold an explosive Pam Pack offense to one second-half goal.
“For the first 10 or 15 minutes it was a pretty even match,” Washington coach Ed Rodriguez said. “We had some opportunities but they just kept pressuring us and eventually they were able to get a few goals on us.”
Wilson-Hunt would strike for three first half goals to put Washington on the ropes by halftime but the pesky Pack continued to fight in the second half.
“In the second half we made some adjustments and we kept pressuring,” Rodriguez said. “We felt after watching them play that we could score. We decided to move up a defender and a midfielder and we created opportunities … But, they just managed to get more goals than us.”
Washington would get on the board in the second half when senior Emily Bohn notched the team’s lone goal, but it would not be enough to upend the No. 1-seeded Warriors.
Overall, Rodriguez viewed the year as a success as he team battled through some key injuries to earn a spot in the playoffs despite playing in a tough Coastal Conference.
“I’m very proud of the team,” Rodriguez said. “This team never gave up in any game, it didn’t matter the situation or whether we were up or down. We fought hard and that’s a good trait to carry over into next season.”
Though the injuries hampered Washington this season it was not without a silver lining as Rodriguez felt the girls who stepped up to fill missing players’ shoes showed a tremendous amount of talent and potential and opened his eyes to new possibilities for next season as Washington brings back seven starters.
“The injuries made it tough so we tried some new things and some worked a little bit and some not as good as others, but we at least tested each other in some new positions,” Rodriguez said. “I got to see a lot of players do different things. I think having some injuries helped me for next season because I got to see some things that other players could do that I would not have normally seen or tried had everybody been healthy.”