ELIZABETHTOWN – Sophmore Patience Ward racked up a ‘Hat Trick’ of 3 goals to lead East Bladen to a 4-0 girls soccer victory over Whiteville Monday night and into first-place in the Three Rivers Conference.
Junior Ashley Hardin curled a left footed shot into the right corner of the net off of a clearing pass from freshman Katie Evans’ corner kick for the game’s first goal and a 1-0 East Bladen lead in the 30th minute of play.
“We had several chances early on but couldn’t seem to find the net,” said Lady Eagle Coach Jay Raynor. “Patience and Hannah (Devane) both had rebounding opportunities that were hit right at the keeper or just wide of the goal.”
Five minutes before halftime Ward banged in her first goal for a 2-0 Lady Eagle halftime lead.
“We didn’t make any adjustments (at halftime),” said Coach Raynor. “Playing how we train was key. We want to play two touch soccer and find a player in an advanced position. The girls did just that today and paid dividends.”
“Four minutes into the second half, Kenia (Medina) made a tackle deep in our attacking one-third and made a run forward through midfield,” stated Raynor. “Kenia then was able to hit a perfect pass to Ward who calmly finished it past the keeper.”
With 6 minutes left to play Ward knocked in her third goal. “Patience played composed and extremely well tonight,” continued Coach Raynor. “All the girls did. They left it all on the field and played hard for each other. This is a special group and they lifted each other up.”
“I am proud of these girls and how they played,” added Raynor. “Every single one of them contributed tremendously to this win. Ting (Lin) made some amazing saves especially in the last 10 minutes of the game. A lot of energy had been expended and we were tired. The game stayed on our end and Ting as well as the backline bailed us out. Izzy (Smith), Sarah Johnson, and Kenia dominated their space tonight.”
“We decided to move Kenia to the 4 and she changed the game,” noted Raynor. “She’s a forward and can score goals. She also tackles the ball well and knows the game. I knew she would not only be able to limit their runs on her side but would also be able to start our attack from that position as well. She added another dimension to our team and was one of the difference makers.”
“Ashley was key tonight as a playmaker and was able to get the ball to the frontline quickly,” said Raynor. “We played Hannah in a deep role and she did that well. That pinned their 2 centerbacks and gave Katie and Patience 1-on-1’s on the outsides. The girls adhered to the game plan and that was the difference.”
Raynor shared that Whiteville had their chances, “They didn’t have any clear wide open shot that was just missed. We contested every shot. They had several free kicks towards the end and Ting made a huge stop on one that was curling in and kept it out of the net.” Lin was credited with 6 saves in the game.
“This is a big win for the girls as well as the program,” concluded Raynor. “This was a first – we have never beaten Whiteville on the girls side. It’s also been a long time since Whiteville lost a conference game. The girls wanted this and made it happen.”
East Bladen, now 5-0 in league play and 6-0 overall, will travel to Red Springs Wednesday night.Share: