One goal is enough for Lady Warriors

Published 9:47 pm Saturday, March 14, 2009

Two matches into the season, Nansemond River’s girls soccer team is still pitching a shutout.

On Wednesday in a 1-0 win in Suffolk against Currituck (N.C.), then on Thursday at Powhatan Field with another 1-0 win against Granby, second-half goals by Danielle Gallagher has been enough for NR’s defense.

Gallagher, a 6 foot 2 forward, used her height and strength advantage on the goal-scoring play just over 10 minutes into the second half.

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Markelle Patterson sent a pass from the right side, about 35 yards from goal, into Gallagher’s path toward the top of the Granby penalty box. Gallagher leaned on, and fended off, a Granby defender, to get to the ball and poke it past the oncoming goalkeeper.

Gallagher’s goal turned out to be the difference on the scoreboard, but NR head coach Darryl Yandle saw more than a narrow one-goal victory.

“I’m more excited because I feel we dominated the game. We had more shots on goal, we had most of the attack and we had most of the possession,” said Yandle.

The majority of the contest took part either around the midfield stripe or toward the Granby goal. The Lady Warriors finished the match with a 15-2 shot advantage, an 8-2 margin in shots on goal and a 6-0 corner-kick advantage.

Senior sweeper Ashley Evans led the steady, organized defensive play for the Lady Warriors. With Evans serving as a quarterback, and when needed, clearing the ball away before a Granby attack could form, for the first 70 minutes of the match Granby had practically no chances to score.

In the final 10 minutes, Granby pushed more players forward and put together a few minor threats in and around NR’s box. NR goalkeeper Rachel McManus finished with two saves for the shutout.

Yandle also credited Jenny Dye, Alison Spruill and Breanne Lowe for the defensive effort in the first two matches.

“We have a total team. In the past, we’ve had some very talented players, but then also some weak holes. Right now, we have 11 strong players and it’s a big difference,” said Yandle, whose team finished 6-9 overall last season.

In the boys contest, the second half of a doubleheader at Powhatan Field, Granby’s Jeremy Jones scored four goals in the first 42 minutes of the match to lead a 6-2 Comet victory.

The Warriors outshot Granby 19-14, and 11-10 with shots on goal, but Jones made the Warriors pay for every chance they allowed him.

Fourteen minutes in, miscommunication on a ball near the top of NR’s penalty box allowed Jones to sprint in and put the ball in the back of the net.

Two minutes later, the Warriors answered. Matt Schutz hustled to keep the ball in play along the left sideline, then along the endline, before he sent a cross near the Granby penalty spot. Larry Chapman got to the ball and sent a left-footed shot just inside the base of the left post.

Granby led 6-1 before NR’s second goal, by Alexander Palagyi on an assist by Schutz, with 3:50 remaining in the match.

The Warriors (0-1) travel to Tabb on Monday evening for a 6 p.m. kickoff. The Lady Warriors (2-0) host Tabb on Monday at 6 p.m.