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The Eagles scored two goals before the coach even showed up.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
ROCKY MOUNT — Franklin County girls soccer coach Moe Potter was late for Tuesday afternoon’s Western Valley District tournament championship game between his team and Patrick Henry.
But judging by his team’s performance during his absence, Potter might consider implementing the late arrival tactic more often.
The Eagles steamrolled PH 5-0, giving them three victories over the Patriots this season by an aggregate score of 11-1. Potter, who had been attending a class in Staunton on Tuesday and arrived at Cy Dillon Stadium with 12 minutes left in the first half and his team holding a 2-0 lead, said that beating the Patriots was important, even though Tuesday’s outcome did not affect the seedings in the upcoming Northwest Region tournament.
“This is the last year of the Western Valley District and Patrick Henry has been our nemesis,” said Potter, who is in his eighth season of guiding the Eagles. “We knew coming into this season that we would probably play PH at least three times and we wanted to win them all. It’s something to remember.”
As WVD regular season champions and No. 1 seed going into the region, the Eagles earn a first-round bye and will host a game Monday against an opponent yet to be determined. PH will play Patriot High School from Prince William County Thursday night at Merrill Gainer Field in Roanoke.
Potter and PH coach Carrie O’Keeffe acknowledged that Tuesday’s visitors have been banged up all spring and a series of injuries depleted their already thin roster. Taylor Tavenner, for example, a key PH player, did not play Tuesday and will have shoulder surgery later this week.
With the temperature hovering around 90 degrees at the game’s start, the Eagles went to work quickly, scoring in the game’s sixth minute when junior April Yopp corralled a corner kick and beat PH keeper Samantha Boggess to the lower left-hand corner of the net.
With 15:04 left in the half, Franklin County sophomore Mikayla Cannaday scored on the other side.
The Eagles got their third first-half goal in the game’s 38th minute when senior Allie Shepherd scored on an assist from Makayla Mills, even though a Patriot defender was the last player to touch the ball.
O’Keeffe fired up her team at halftime and the Patriots were clearly the aggressor for much of the second half. “We played really well for most of the second half,” she said. “We created some dangerous chances [for scoring] but we just couldn’t seem to put it in.”
Franklin County’s final two goals came from junior Sydney Varney on a long shot (with 19:48 left) that bounced over Boggess’s head, and then from Mills on a breakaway in the game’s 84th minute.
“Makayla’s probably our fastest player,” Potter said. “She doesn’t play that many minutes, but when she’s in there, she goes all out.”
The Eagles have advanced to several regionals during Potter’s tenure, but last year marked the team’s first Northwest Region tournament victory.
The Patriots suffered yet another injury when senior Tricia Jessee, who has committed to Washington and Lee, was carried off the field in the game’s waning minutes.
“She’s going to be OK,” O’Keeffe said.
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