East Lincoln’s Cassidy Farar moves the ball downfield against West Caldwell in the teams’ NCHSAA state 2A playoff match Tuesday in Denver.
EL ekes past Warriors, moves on
By RYAN HERMAN
DENVER –– Now that it’s state playoff time the name of the game is survive and advance, and that’s exactly what East Lincoln’s girls soccer team did.
Tatum Auvil scored two goals and the Mustangs did just enough to keep their season going with a 2-1 win over West Caldwell Tuesday in the opening round of the NCHSAA state 2A playoffs.
Next up for 10th-seeded East Lincoln is a trip to Monroe to face No. 7 Parkwood, a 5-0 winner over Maiden. That match will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Longtime Mustangs coach Jason Dragoon knows he’ll need a better effort out of his team of it’s to knock off the Rebels.
“Bottom line is, we didn’t play well,” Dragoon said. “I think we survived a couple of issues.”
The two Southern District 7 Athletic 2A Conference foes, who were going head-to-head for the third time this season –– East Lincoln swept them all –– played to a stalemate in the first 33 minutes. Then in the 34th minutes the Mustangs (19-5-1) finally broke through.
Senior Tatum Auvil sent a shot right through the keeper’s legs, and with 6:12 to play in the half the Mustangs led 1-0 –– a lead that stood going into the break.
Nearly 13 minutes went by in the second before Auvil struck again. She scored goal No. 28 of the season –– which tied the school’s single-season record, Dragoon said –– on a pass from Lexi Smith with 27:44 left to play and, with its lack of offense, seemed to put West Caldwell away. But the 23rd-seeded Warriors refused to go away quietly.
A deflected corner kick by East Lincoln found its way upfield to West Caldwell (10-11-0), which beat a Mustangs defender and the ball was fed up ahead to Lisset Aguilar. The senior juked one defender, then shot it past keeper Mollie Dallin to make it a 2-1 match with 16:41 to play.
Luckily for East Lincoln, it was the last shot the Warriors took.
“I don’t know what’s going on, but we’ve got to solve a few problems, we’ve got to tighten a few things up, we’ve just got to make things better,” Dragoon said.
Although the Mustangs outshot their SD-7 counterparts 9-4, their passing hurt them in this one.
Too many times they had numbers and an errant pass was either deflected or taken away by West Caldwell.
Dragoon feels his team was once one of the best passing teams in the West, but now he’s not so sure.
If his team is to reach the third round, it’ll have to make much crisper passes at Parkwood.
“We’re not playing like us. We’re not passing, passing, passing, we’re just not doing it,” Dragoon said. “Where we were the best passing team in the state, definitely in 2A, we are now the worst passing team, right now.”
Aside from advancing to the third round, East Lincoln has some personal history to play for when it takes on Parkwood (12-5-0).
A win will give the Mustangs the most in a season school history, Dragoon said. Tuesday’s win tied the record of 19.
record of 19.
Image courtesy of Jaclyn Anthony / Lincoln Times-News