North Caroline soccer remains unbeaten
Three-goal second half catapults NC over the Warriors
RIDGELY — There is no outof-town scoreboard at North Caroline High. And even if there was, girls’ head soccer coach Joe Bildstein would probably yank the plug out of the wall, utility pole, generator, or wherever the power was coming from.
“We tell them, ‘This game. This is the game we play,’” Bildstein said of his team’s focus. “We aren’t worried about any other team. We just go with what we’re doing, which seems to be working.” It sure does. Hailey Chester scored the go-ahead goal midway through the first half, and Alex Lawton scored 47 seconds after halftime to trigger a three-goal second half Thursday as the Bulldogs rolled to a 5-1 victory over Easton to take over sole possession of first place in the North Bayside Division.
While Kent Island was handing Queen Anne’s its first loss in a division-shaping clash, North Caroline improved to 5-0 overall, 2-0 North Bayside. The defending Bayside Conference champion Buccaneers — who don’t play the Bulldogs until Oct. 9 — raised their record to 1-2, 1-0, while Queen Anne’s slipped to 4-1, 1-1, and Easton’s record dipped to 3-2, 1-1.
“I felt our team in the first half of the first half put a lot of pressure up on their back line,” said Easton assistant Elle Pennington, who was filling in for head coach Phylicia Gregorio Smith. “We held it in our offensive end, we had some nice little plays that really put their back line on their heels a little bit to draw the foul to bring us to 1-1, which we’ve talked about that scenario multiple times; to stay composed, and I thought they did a very good job with that.”
North Caroline took a 1-0 lead 6 minutes, 33 seconds into the game when an unmarked Corinne Webb converted a Lawton cross from the left wing. Almost 2 minutes later, Easton’s Julia Hammons was pulled down in the box, setting up Cat Christian’s penalty kick for a 1-1 tie.
Warrior keeper Jess Millard made a pair of saves over the next eight minutes to maintain the 1-1 deadlock. But the Bulldogs broke the stalemate at the 24:50 mark, as Millard stopped a point-blank drive with both hands, but couldn’t retrieve the rebound before Chester tucked the ball into the net for a 2-1 lead.
Then just 47 seconds into the second half, North Caroline’s Pearl Sutton collected a ball from the right wing, and arched a high chip toward the goal, where Lawton knocked the ball past Millard for a 3-1 lead.
“It just kind of came in and I tried whatever to get a body part on it,” Lawton said with a laugh. “As long as it goes in. As long as it goes in the net it’s a goal.”
North Caroline continued to apply pressure.
Chester was taken down inside the box with 24:18 remaining, setting up Tanya Haro’s penalty kick for a 4-1 cushion. The Warriors were called for another penalty inside the box, which resulted in Lawton steering a PK just out of the reach of the lunging Millard with 15:34 left.
“Second half we got a little bit tired,” Pennington said. “We’re still working on communication. We have girls that haven’t been playing together for too long. This is their first season together so we’re still working on that relationship and building that bond on and off the field.
“Second half they came out and that showed, that they’ve been playing together,” Pennington added of North Caroline. “They worked the ball better than we did and we weren’t able to keep possession the second half.”
While the Warriors are working toward becoming a more cohesive unit, Bildstein has been trying to develop depth during the first half of the season, something he thought cost his team in its 3-2 loss to Queen Anne’s in last year’s Class 2A East Section II final.
“Last year when we finally got to Queen Anne’s in the playoffs, we ran out of depth,” Bildstein said. “We figured that was one of our goals this year, was to get some depth. And I think it’s helping. We go down the bench. It’s a whole team; keeps our girls fresh at the end of the game. I think at the end we had more gas in the tank.”
Millard finished with 12 saves. Violet Clarke made seven saves for the Bulldogs, before being lifted for Alyssa Deck with 15:34 remaining.
Easton 1, Wicomico 0
SALISBURY — Trent Weems scored off Devin Otwell’s pass for the game’s only goal, and keeper Alek Riedel made three saves as the Warriors improved to 3-1.
Parkside 2, Kent Island 0
SALISBURY — The Rams received two goals from Jordan Law, the first at the third minute, and second at the 77th minute, improving to 3-0-1.
The Buccaneers fell to 3-1, Jackson Davis making 11 saves. Parkside outshot Kent Island, 13-9.
Queen Anne’s 3, Colonel 0
CENTREVILLE — Haley Stallings had 14 assists and eight aces, and Caitlin Pfeiffer finished with eight kills as the Lions defeated the Colonels, 25-18, 25-11, 25-9.
Maddie Tisher had five kills and three aces for Queen Anne’s County (3-1, 2-0), Kate Tolson produced nine digs, Aryelle Miles contributed six digs, and Alyssa Sofinowski added five digs.
Easton 3, N. Caroline 0
EASTON — Myia Jeter netted nine kills and Josie Stockman had three kills and a pair of aces the pace the Warriors, 25-15, 25-9, 25-16.
Jade Williams finished with three kills for Easton (3-0, 2-0), which got two kills from Ashanti Stanley, three aces from Emily Griffith, two aces from Gabby Aguilar, and an ace from Kate Chapple.
North Dorchester 3, Wicomico 2
SHILOH — The Eagles (3-1 overall, 2-1 South Bayside) won via scores of 25-19, 2519, 11-25, 21-25, and 15-5.
Jenna Usilton notched nine aces and Jordan Lewis registered eight kills. Kayley Bradley added six blocks in a solid net performance.
Wicomico is now 1-4, 1-3.
HIGH SCHOOL FIELD HOCKEY J.M. Bennett 3, Easton 1
SALISBURY — Annie Wheatley scored in a losing effort for the Warriors (1-3). Mykyla Jenkins made seven saves.
The Clippers improved to 3-0.
North Caroline’s Jordan Schaetzly, left, battles Easton’s Lily Osborne for the ball during Thursday night’s first half.