Soccer loses 3 by 1 goal each
Published 2:51 pm Thursday, March 16, 2017
The Davie varsity soccer team’s luck in the first five games makes you wonder if Somebody Up There hasn’t taken a liking to these War Eagles.
The War Eagles’ last three losses have all been by one goal. Junior forward Jessica Navarro, the team’s leading scorer in 2016 and its No. 2 scorer in 2015, was lost to a knee injury in the first half against Trinity. Coach Jim Beck said it looks like a possible season-ending injury. Against North Davidson, the loss of Navarro was compounded by the absence of Jaci Grachen, who was sidelined by an injury of her own.
Last week, Davie played three matches in the Forbush Invitational. In the opener against Trinity on March 7, Navarro went down midway through the first half and Davie lost 1-0.
“Jessica is a huge loss for us,” Beck said. “Her speed is missed. We miss her leadership on the field.”
The War Eagles showed fight despite only managing five shots.
“It was a hard-fought match,” Beck said. “Both teams were even. We played well top to bottom. This match was a turning point for us. We played hard for 80 minutes.”
While Davie slipped to 0-3, the Bulldogs (3-1) enjoyed their third straight win. They’ve outscored opponents 9-1 during the streak.
As much as Navarro’s injury hurts, it was an opportunity for freshman Alexis Riddle to showcase her ability.
“Alexis did a great job in her spot,” Beck said. “I expect her to be a future star.”
The loss, though, puts a greater load on Faith Bokeno.
“Faith creates so many problems for other teams,” he said. “Although she hasn’t scored the goals she is capable of scoring, she is superb on the ball and takes control of a match.”
One day later, Davie broke through to hand Beck his first win as coach, 2-0 over Wilkes Central.
After a scoreless first half, Riddle provided the lead with 32 minutes remaining with an assist from Riley Ball. It was the first Davie goal for the freshman.
Eight minutes later, Annie Kinder knocked in her first goal of the season. She was assisted by Erin Gniewek. Davie fired 23 shots to drop Wilkes Central’s record to 2-3.
Beck got meaningful contributions from goalie Maddie Tellup (11 saves); midfielder Ball; and defenders Kam Parks, Katherine Watts, Madison Riddle, Haley Campbell, Jennifer Ngo and Amanda Ngo. The defense did not miss a beat when Carolin Freye and Gniewek came off the bench.
“Tellup has matured into a solid keeper,” Beck said. “She’s a great communicator and she organized the defense. Our defenders stepped up and played well. I finally found my lineup and rotation. Gniewek is valuable because I can use her in multiple positions.”
Beck lavished praise on Watts.
“She is a game player and masterful in the back,” he said of the junior. “She took two balls out of the back all the way into the attacking end and played scoreable balls. She covers the field well. I saw what she could do against Trinity and gave her the green light. She saved us several times in both matches. (Against Trinity), she had a key save on a breakaway. She ran the girl down and cleared the ball out.”
Another fine defensive effort went for naught in a 1-0 loss to North Davidson in the fifth-place match on March 10.
The Black Knights (2-2-1) scored 15 seconds into the match, and the 1-0 margin never changed as Davie played without Navarro and Grachen, who is expected back this week.
“It was a battle on both ends,” Beck said as Davie fell to 1-4.
Even though Davie and North are Central Piedmont Conference rivals, this went down as a nonconference match. Davie and North split two in 2016.