Lady Raiders kick off Gazette Cup in style

March 4, 2008 at 10:16 pm Leave a comment

The girls soccer team at South Point HS got a good start at the East Lincoln Invitational last week (one win, one tie, and one losss) and the Gazette Cup this week.

diamond-davis-and-crystal-ocasio.jpg (Gazette Photo)

Currently, the 2-1-1 Lady Raiders, fresh off a 1-0 win last night over rival East Gaston in the opening evening of the annual Gazette Cup, look forward to a level playing field this season.

Kings Mountain, Forestview, and Ashbrook lost a significant number of players to graduation last year, but as normal, just reloaded for this spring campaign.

Don’t count out East Gaston by any means in this spring season, or Hunter Huss for that matter. East Gaston picked up a number of the players to the varsity roster off last spring’s Mount Holly middle school finalist team and they made an immediate impact in last night’s match. More on Hunter Huss at the end of the article.

Red Raider freshman, Diamond Davis, scored the lone goal  of the match on a very quick counter attack by the Red Raiders, blasting past East Gaston midfield standout, Kylie Payne, and defender, Emily Ingle, to send home a goal on sophomore backup keeper Ayanna Reid in the 4th minute of play. Reid normally is a defender and was filling in for senior Sydney Heffner for this match.

After the initial shock of the goal, East Gaston played fundamentally sound soccer throughout the rest of the match. Freshman strikers, Kristen Calhoun and Stephanie Aguilar frustrated the defense of South Point almost all evening. South Point’s back line of Methodist College signee, Christine Ellington, along with Mandy Donaldson,  Elizabeth “Eli” McEwan, and Julia Ratchford had their hands full containing the penetrating runs of the youngsters.

Coach John Miller’s squad used frequent substitutions to apparently rest the legs of his players in this early season test. Seniors Gerry Le and Abbey Gensch ably led the Raider midfield with solid support from 2008 Miss South Point, Kaley Rivera, and a rotating series of wing players.

Freshman, Paige Donaldson, and sophomore, Shannon Holder, rotated in and out all evening giving the South Point women much needed speed and added an interesting element to the attack. Diamond Davis was definitely the story for the Raiders on this evening. The freshman phenom has speed, an aggressive quality, and the desire to shoot every chance down the pitch. She is a raw talent that will need to be nurtured because the frustration element against older, stronger defenders was apparent late in the match.

Junior keeper, Gabby Bevlin, who transferred after last season from Highland Tech, stepped up big time by directing the squad from behind. Her chatter was very professional and kept the SP defense focused. East Gaston’s shooters, Kylie Payne, Sadie Schronce and Kristen Calhoun were met by fast hands and solid physical play by Bevlin.

Probably the biggest standout of the evening was an unassuming player named Crystal Ocasio of East Gaston. She wears number 9 and played in the left defensive back position and midfield wing position. As a sophomore, she displayed a maturity and talent beyond her years given the speed of the SP attack. Several times she stripped Davis of the ball and cleanly cleared along the left touchline.

Ocasio shined inthe final 10 minutes of the match as tempers began to flare between the squads. Julia Ratchford was called for a foul deep in her defensive corner (receiving a stern warning from the referee) about 20 yards from goal. Ocasio placed a perfect direct free kick into the box, which Bevlin saved. Talk about a bit of breath holding by the Raider fans!

Within stoppage time, Ocasio placed another direct free kick smack into an onrushing SP keeper, anybody else, it would have been a goal. Bevlin came up big time with what turned out to be the final play of the match.

On Thursday night, South Point will face defending Gazette Cup champions, Kings Mountain,  who beat an outclassed North Gaston squad, 11-0. KM, last springs 3A regional finalists lost 9 players to graduation, but still remains big, fast, and strong. Kings Mountain has several fast midfielders and strikers, and are not afraid to match up defensively body-for-body. The match will be held at Martha Rivers Park in Gastonia. Admission is $4 and funds from the event go to the Gazette “Newspapers In Education” program.

Big South Conference Outlook 

This spring’s Big South Conference will be an exciting one with what we are terming the most “level playing field” over the past several years. Six of the seven schools have legitimate shots at winning the conference title this season.

Hunter Huss and Ashbrook are the early season favorites, but don’t overlook East Gaston, Forestview, Crest, or South Point. Each squad is loaded with experienced year-around club players.

Huss played a very good match against Highland Tech last week and displayed some defensive moxie and speed along the wings and a super keeper.

Forestview has a good midfield and creative coaches. Ashbrook has a new coach, and a positive attitude along with solid midfielders.

Crest, as always, draws good Cleveland County club players and possess speedy attackers.

Only North Gaston will struggle this season. They had a great corp of freshman last year that seemed to disappear as the season progressed.

Looking forward to the start of a new soccer season, as always, here on the Belmont Front Porch.

Advertisements

Entry filed under: Ashbrook Soccer, Belmont, Belmont Front Porch, Big South Conference, Christine Ellington, Community, Diamond Davis, East Gaston HS, Eli McEwan, Forestview soccer, Gaston County, Gaston County Schools, Gaston Gazette, Gazette Cup, HS Soccer, Julia Ratchford, Kaley Rivera, Kings Mountain Soccer, Miss South Point, Mt. Holly, NC High School Soccer, NC Soccer, NC Soccer Coaches Association, NC Soccer Forum, NCHSAA, News, People, School, Small Town, Soccer, South Point, South Point HS, Sports, Things to Do.

Pittenger property plans shown What Makes a Great City?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Recent Posts


%d bloggers like this: