Triple threat for Pam Pack soccer team
By By EUGENE L. TINKLEPAUGH, Staff Writer
Three juniors at Washington High School are kicking around the idea of making a serious playoff run this season.
Among the triple threat is over 30 years of experience on the soccer field.
Protecting the goal for the Pam Pack for a second season is Ashley Crompton, who made almost 200 saves last year. Leading scorer Blaine Prescott has scored 30 goals this season. Half of her goals were off assists by the Pam Pack’s star center midfielder Iris Cruz.
Their chemistry has led the Pam Pack to a 10-4-1 overall record and some swelling hopes of going a couple of rounds into the postseason this year.
With two games left in the season, the Pack gathered on the high school’s practice field for a light warm-up after a physical match-up against New Bern.
A beat up and sore Prescott maintained an upbeat attitude about the Pack’s rebuilding season.
Prescott has played in a travel league since she was 10, and started playing soccer at the rec level at the age of 6.
She lives in Williamston, but because her mother teaches at the Washington Montessori Public Charter School, Prescott is allowed to attend Beaufort County Schools.
Her Martin County school district’s high school doesn’t have a ladies’ soccer team, so Prescott decided to transfer to Washington High.
She says she’s been hooked on the game ever since she as a little girl saw her cousins play.
This is Prescott’s second season on the Pam Pack soccer team. She plays center forward, mostly, but has also helmed the center mid position as she did against New Bern.
Prescott says she runs three to seven miles a day to work on her speed and fitness.
On top of the mental toughness and grueling workouts, Prescott points out that the game is very physical.
Prescott says the Pam Pack stumbled this season after losing a key defender, but the team is now “getting back in stride.”
This year Washington’s soccer teams have a new coach, who Prescott says has shifted the team’s focus on the technical aspects of the game.
There’s a moment in every game, Prescott calls it that “magic spot, where the other team knows they lost.”
The one magic moment that sticks out in Prescott’s mind came off a corner kick.
Finishing that corner kick after working on it over and over in practice was a highlight of Prescott’s season.
Though she still has one more high school soccer season in her, Prescott has already made up her mind about post-high-school soccer.
She shares that sentiment with the team’s two other star juniors.
Cruz, who has played rec ball at Wilson since she was 5, is determined to play for Barton College.
Crompton says playing college ball “would be the best thing ever.”
She adds, “I have to get through high school first, but it would be awesome.”
Cruz has been playing soccer for 13 years. She moved to Washington and played for the rec league here as well as for P.S. Jones Middle School for four seasons. This is her third year playing for the Pam Pack.
Her stepdad taught her how to play, and she mixed it up with her three brothers on the soccer field, the combination of which gives her the tenacity and full field wherewithal to lead the team.
Cruz says her team has the confidence to do something in the playoffs this year.
Her biggest dream after college ball is to play in the pros.
One of her rec league coaches in Wilson is now the coach of the Barton girls’ soccer team.
Cruz has scored 13 goals this season. She hasn’t kept track of her many assists.
Crompton got her start at the goalie box in the seventh grade. She had played the game since she was five, getting her first glimpse of the game for the Optimist Club’s rec league in Washington.
She tried out for the P.S. Jones Middle school team and jumped at the opportunity to play goalie.
Making the switch from defender to goalie took some adjusting, Crompton acknowledges.
Out of 249 attempted goals on Crompton last year, she stopped 198.
The one game that the Pam Pack tied this season was against the 4A J.H. Rose.
With the game tied at 1 score apiece, Washington was called for a penalty in the box.
Crompton made the decision, it turned out to be the right one, and she blocked the penalty kick to keep the game tied.
Today Washington faces Havelock. On the teams’ first showdown this season, the Pam Pack lost 3-2.
Wednesday, the Pam Pack will seek revenge against West Carteret, who ousted Washington earlier in the season.
Playoffs start May 8. Washington expects to be seeded second or third in the Coastal Conference.