May 14, 2006

Cup-Winners

The falls road girls overcame a physical, tough defense which packed the defensive third of the field for most of the game to claim their first girls' soccer state championship. Things were looking up as Falls Road held possession and had the best chances on goal through the first half. Danger struck the Crusaders by surprise when a Hickory forward received a centered ball at midfield, split the defenders, and beat the goal in a 1 v. 1 matchup. With 15 minutes to play, the 'Saders would need a goal to force Extra Time. Goals had been hard to come by so far. Hickory played either a 4-4-2 or a 4-5-1, forcing the Crusaders to make short, quick passes amid a quick and aggressive back four. Corner kicks were no opportunity, as the girls from Hickory packed 8 into the box to thwart the corner.

Even though the goal was a tough blow, the Crusaders did not drop their heads. They continued to produce chances, as they had done all game. In the 71st minute, an indirect free kick was given to Falls Road via a dangerous play by Hickory. Kristy Legg set-up for the kick, curling it away from the goalie toward the far post. The keeper attempted the save, only to see the ball deflect off her fingers and into the Hickory net. Jubilation ensued on the Falls Road half, as well as in the stands, where the Crusaders had much support. Six minutes later, a loose ball bounced into the Hickory penalty box. As two defenders merged to meet the ball, Anna Taylor dispossessed them, and volleyed the ball into the back of the net, leaving the keeper no chance. The Crusaders took the lead, 2-1. Hickory saw no great chances after the 2nd goal, and at full time, Falls Road lifted the cup (ok, it was a trophy).

This state championship is Falls Road's 3rd on the year. You can read more from the game here.

Congratulations to the 'Sader girls for a great season, a great year, and great memories in the years to come. Go Falls Road!