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Southside can’t convert in loss to North Lenoir

CHOCOWINITY — Southside piled it on North Lenoir Wednesday night. So much so that, despite conceding a goal late in the first half, there was little concern on the Lady Seahawks’ sideline.

The shot whizzed over the head of goalkeeper Carleigh Findley, just out of her reach. Southside’s defense hunkered down, Findley was sharp otherwise, and the offense spent more time than not in its attacking third.

The chances continued to build, but were nothing more than that: chances. Iyari Mondragon had an opportunity to tie the game with a penalty kick with 19 minutes left, but North Lenoir’s keeper was able to make the stop. Still, Southside pummeled the visitors’ defense, doing everything but putting the ball in the net.

That one instance didn’t lead to the 1-0 loss. In fact, it didn’t even feel like much of a turning point. The Lady Seahawks had dominated for so long and still had nearly 20 minutes to find the equalizer.

“It was frustrating, obviously, because we played a pretty good ball game tonight. It just didn’t fall our way,” Southside coach Jay Petty said. “At the same time, we’ve been working hard on some basic things, and the girls really executed that tonight. I can’t be disappointed, overall, even though we lost.”

Mondragon nearly erased her missed opportunity when, a minute after her penalty, she weaved her way through the defense for a point-blank look at the goal. She ran out of room, though, and couldn’t get a shot off.

“We just couldn’t get anything to fall,” Petty said. “In the second half, we did a good job to keep the ball on their end. I never felt like (North Lenoir) walked away with it. We just couldn’t put it in the back of the net.”

That was one of a number of times Southside threatened to score. Sindy Chavez Pullman and Sarah Petty, among others, also came close. Southside’s offense did well to well to both build up their attack, as well as weave passes through North Lenoir’s backline.

That aspect — despite the losing outcome — is what Petty has been most pleased with.

“The girls have been working hard at practice and learning a lot of stuff. For them to come out and play a 2-A team and really give them a good ball game … I’m not displeased,” Petty said. “Our passing is getting a whole lot better.

“At the start of the season, we were a kick and chase team. … We’ve really been controlling the ball a lot better and utilizing each other’s passes. We’ve still got to get better at it. We’re not where I want us to be.”

There are other areas Petty is looking to improve. He wants the team to be mentally ready each time they take the field. He also always wants to see conditioning get better.

Southside will get some time off for spring break before returning to action April 9 against Southwest Edgecombe.