Pam Pack gives No. 4 Vikings fits in soccer|White Oak breaks away in second half

Published 1:33 pm Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sports Editor

Jimmy Kozuch’s plan nearly came to fruition. The Pam Pack soccer coach knew his team was facing a tough task against the No. 4-ranked White Oak Vikings in Tuesday’s Coastal Conference action.
Kozuch was hoping to play to a 0-0 tie in the first half, then somehow score a goal and hang on against the dangerous Vikings. Washington and White Oak were tied at the half, but the Vikings broke free with three goals — all by Jodi Barber — in the second half for a 3-0 win.
“We put Beth (Batchelor) in goal and the plan was to keep it 0-0 in the first half, if possible,” Kozuch said. “Then we were hoping to put one in the back of the net in the second half, and then maybe throw (Batchelor) back in goal again. We had a good game plan and I think we were pretty successful.
“They’re one of the best teams, if not the best team in the state. Defensively, the girls played really good.”
Washington (5-7-2, 4-6-1) fell 8-0 to the Vikings (14-1-2, 10-1), who have won four straight N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A state championships, in the first meeting. The Pack certainly played better the second time around.
Batchelor, the Pack’s leading scorer, made a number of incredible saves to keep it scoreless in the first half. She had three diving saves in a matter of minutes.
The junior had a chance to give Washington the lead early in the second half, but her free kick at the 32:00 mark was a little high.
A few minutes later, Barber got past her defender and nudged the ball past Pack freshman keeper Robin Thompson, who did a solid job in net. Barber added two more goals with nine minutes and one minute to play.
Kozuch was pleased with how his freshman goalie performed in the second half.
“She made some good saves,” Kozuch said. “That’s a very, very tough situation to be put in for a freshman. She played well.”
The Pack defense made it tough on the Vikings. Emily Lobos, Tatum Edwards, Kirsten Shackelford, Brigette Thomas, Rachel Thompson and Whitney Younce seemed to be all over the field.
Kozuch is hoping his team can match the intensity when the Pack travels to D.H. Conley (8-3, 7-3) on Thursday.
Washington will then be at home for the final two regular season games, hosting South Central (1-12-2, 0-10) on Tuesday and West Carteret (6-8-1, 5-4-1) next Thursday.
“We want to win these next three,” Kozuch said. “We have the confidence that we can take them. Hopefully, we will.”
The Pack is still entertaining thoughts of making the playoffs.
“There is still a glimmer of hope,” Kozuch said. “We probably need to get two wins to make the playoffs, but we’re not sure.”