Freshman duo dazzles in Lady Pack’s opening win

Published 8:38 pm Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Washington’s forwards missed chance after chance early in Wednesday’s season opener against Edenton. When the Lady Pack did finally break through, it was the freshman tandem of Lily Frances Lobos and Rebecca Zerniak scoring in the first half to spearhead the 3-1 win.

The offense generated scoring opportunities with increasing ease throughout the game. Edenton’s backline fixated on disrupting the middle of the field, and its goalkeeper was strong when faced with shots head on.

Still, Washington wasn’t worried. Coach Ed Rodriguez knew that the goals would come as the chances piled up.

“We create opportunities. They’ll take care of themselves,” he said. “Creating opportunities is the main thing. … I would’ve liked to see a little bit more controlled execution. We do a lot of give-and-gos. … We just didn’t finish.”

And they did. Lobos dazzled in her high-school debut. Senior Sydney Walker found a seam that put Lobos in behind the Lady Aces’ defense, and she tucked it in the bottom-right corner. It gave Washington a 1-0 lead 20 minutes into the game.

Zerniak, a fellow rookie midfielder, doubled the advantage seven minutes later. She drove down the right side of the penalty area. The opposing keeper got a piece of her point-blank shot, but Zerniak followed through as it trickled into the goal.

“We have two freshmen playing a lot on the left and right,” Rodriguez said. “We’re not used to the 4-5-1. It will get better. It got better in the second half, as far as creating opportunities.”

Edenton got on the board thanks to a direct kick with nine minutes left in the first half. It was the only significant blemish on an otherwise strong showing from senior netminder Julissa Perez and the Washington’s defense.

“The girl put it in the right spot. Nothing you can do about that,” Rodriguez said. “We did good defensively. When we made a mistake here or there, it was in an area of the field that didn’t really cost us. The middle was solid, and that’s where you have to defend.”

Senior Jordan Prescott, whose 35 goals ranked second on the squad last year, seemed snake bitten in the first half. She had a handful of clean looks. Some were saved, others rolled just wide.

The veteran forward finally broke through early in the second half. Her shot five minutes in was too hard to cleanly handle, and Prescott converted on the rebound.

“She worked hard. She earned about five,” Rodriguez said. “I’m glad she got one.”

Washington will face an early test when it heads to Croatan for a weekend tournament. The Lady Pack will play Richlands Friday and then the hosts on Saturday.