Picture perfectPublished 9:47pm Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Pack trounce North Johnston, breeze through Eastern Plains Conference
Perfection in a sport where scoring is tough to come by is no easy task. In soccer, it’s rare to go undefeated, but to utterly dominate a conference without letting up a single goal and just a handful of shots, well, it’s almost unheard of.
The Pam Pack girls soccer team had that rare opportunity to sweep the Eastern Plains Conference with a win against North Johnston on Senior Night. Washington entered Wednesday’s match up having activated the nine-goal mercy rule in all eight of its conference games, all without letting up a single goal. As parents and a small pocket of unexpectedly loud students looked on, the Pam Pack easily took care of business to close out their regular season, defeating the second-best team in the conference by a resounding score of 10-0.
“Quickness is what makes this team so good,” said head coach Ed Rodriguez. “A lot of them have played at least three years together, so everyone knows where to go and where to be.”
Rodriguez’s system, one that relies heavily on a skillful collection of midfielders, was working like a well-oiled machine throughout the evening, but especially in the first five minutes. Before fans could even get comfortable in their seats, Washington’s seniors were already making the opposition uncomfortable, depositing four goals in the first five minutes of the contest, two by Christian Heggie, one by Alana Jefferson and one by Rebecca Omonde. A youngster, freshman Sydney Lewis, also joined the upperclassmen with one of her own to notch five goals in five minutes.
In the 10th minute, Jefferson added to her total with a well-placed blast from just inside the box, her 29th goal of the season. Shortly after, Heggie redirected a rebound off the goalie into the back of the net.
Up a commanding 7-0 in the first 16 minutes, Washington kept the pressure on and allowed the ball to cross midfield just a handful of times. Junior defenders Anna McLawhorn and Rubi Perez, two players who have been overshadowed by a skillful midfield for most of the season, ran down every ball and kept the Panthers at bay.
Harley Hudson became the fourth senior to notch a goal in the 61st minute, cleaning up a rebound from a Heggie shot.
Junior Caitlyn Scott added another and with just 50 seconds left in the half, Heggie deposited her fourth goal of the game, 50th of the season and 10th of the game for her team.
When the horn sounded for halftime, the mercy rule was automatically put into effect, ending the game early in a Senior Night blowout.
The victory solidifies Washington’s conference record to a perfect 8-0 to end the season. The Pam Pack outscored Eastern Plains opponents 74-0.
“I thought we were going to be very competitive in the conference coming in, but I didn’t expect it to be the way it turned out,” Rodriguez said. “The girls really worked the system we set up very well. The teamwork got even better. One of the things by having so many practices indoors that we worked on is our short game. That’s really helped it a lot.”
The first round of the NCHSAA playoffs is scheduled for Wednesday, May 14.