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Lady Mustangs fall to Shelby

East Lincoln junior Sara Erwin battles with Shelby’s Elizabeth Lampley for the ball on Thursday.

South Iredell takes Andy Kosmala Memorial Tournament crown; Tatum, Auvil, Bell named All-Tournament

Special to LTN

DENVER — If East Lincoln coach Jason Dragoon was disappointed after his girls’ team fell to Shelby 3-0 on the final night of the 2012 Andy Kosmala Memorial Tournament, he wasn’t showing it.
The Lions (4-1-0) scored all three of the their goals in the first half—the final two in a flurry—but Dragoon found plenty to take away from the match and his team’s performance in the three-day event.
“That’s why these nonconference games are so important and that you play teams that are going to beat you,” said Dragoon, whose Lady Mustangs lost two and tied one in the tournament and are now 1-2-1 overall. “It’s not any good to play teams that can’t beat you. You want to play teams that are going to expose everything wrong with what you’re doing and that’s how you get better. If you play teams you’re going to beat, you’re not going to find out what you’re not doing well. And then you really don’t know that what you’re doing right is going to work.”
South Iredell earned top honors in the tournament with its 5-2 win Thursday against South Point. South Iredell also beat East Lincoln 9-0 on Monday and lost to West Forsyth, 6-2 on Tuesday.
But Thursday night’s contest was tighter than the score indicated. Shelby senior midfielder Megan Nanney hammered a pass into the back of the net at the 29:19 mark of the first half to give the Lions a 1-0 edge.
The two teams played even for the next 20-plus minutes until Shelby’s Chase Thompson was tripped in the box, giving the Lions a penalty kick. Nanney knocked home her second goal on the kick with 6 minutes to play in the half. Then, just a minute later, Rebecca Burton added Shelby’s third goal.
“I thought we played very well,” Dragoon said of his team’s performance. “The first 20 minutes was all us. We’re knocking the ball around them—that’s a state finals team, state semifinalist. They’re consistently in the fourth and fifth and sixth rounds of the playoffs every year. They’re consistently a 16-, 17-, 18-win team. They do a very, very good job. I’m extremely proud.”
The loss was an all-too-familiar one for Dragoon when looking across the field at Shelby coach David Steeves. Dragoon said, including his boys team, he’s now 0-15-1 against Steeves.
“This is a game we schedule every year because he knows he’s going to get good competition and I know I’m going to find out where we’re weak, where we’re having mistakes,” Dragoon said.
One of those mistakes was the penalty that led to Nanney’s penalty kick goal.
“If we don’t give up that PK, you’re talking about 1-0 at halftime, probably,” he added. “But we give that one up, that’s a goal, we fall apart and give up the third because I’m coaching the center back who made the mistake on the PK.”
East Lincoln had several near misses in the second half.
First, with 18:21 remaining, Adriene Reavis was a step away from beating the goalkeeper to the ball on a breakaway. She got her foot on the ball, but was too far from the goal and the ball rolled away harmlessly.
Just a minute later, sophomore Tatum Auvil’s header was somehow kept out of the goal.
“I don’t know how we don’t score on the diving header,” Dragoon said. “Beautiful cross, the girl leaves her feet. In girls high school soccer, you see a girl go parallel to the ground for a header and not come up with a goal, that’s just mind boggling. That should have been a 3-1 game.”
Tatum, Auvil and Dalton Bell were named to the All-tournament team for the Lady Mustangs. South Iredell’s Ashlyn Pierce was named the offensive MVP and South Point’s Kellie Patz was the defensive MVP.

Alexandria Danese moves the ball upfield for East Lincoln.

Image courtesy of Ray Gora / LTN

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