Tuesday, April 27, 2010

SPORTS >> Lady Falcons win local matchup

Lady Falcons sophomore Mercedes Wilson catches an opponent off guard.


Leader sportswriter

A three-goal “hat trick” was not enough for North Pulaski senior forward Claire Crews, who added a fourth for good measure in the Lady Falcons’ 6-2, non-conference victory over Jacksonville at Jan Crow Stadium on Monday.

Stephanie Alvis set the early pace for the Lady Falcons (4-8) with two goals in the first 15 minutes and spent much of the remainder of the match finding ways to set up Crews.

The tandem provided a balanced attack for North Pulaski, while the Lady Red Devils appeared to depend primarily on the ball handling and scoring of sophomore forward Taylor Ruple.

Ruple’s efforts netted a goal in each half, but North Pulaski kept her opportunities to a minimum while controlling possession most of the way.

“Mercedes Wilson, she’s our sophomore speedy defender,” Lady Falcons coach Tony Buzzitta said. “She’s the one who kept pressure on Taylor Ruple the whole game as far as limiting her looks.

“We had good defensive rotation. She has the ability to score from anywhere on the field, and she’s a tough person to defend, so we wanted to limit her from getting clean looks at the goal.”

Crews kicked her third goal in the 32nd minute of the second half, and broke away for her fourth goal less than two minutes later.

“They are both really good players,” Buzzitta said of Alvis and Crews. “And they have excellent teamwork on the field. They are our primary ball handlers. They are experienced players, and they provide leadership to some of the less experienced players.”

Ruple had a pair of close calls in the first minute, including a shot on goal five minutes in that was wide right and a long-distance shot from the left side that was just over the top of the goal in the 11th minute.

A red card against Jacksonville’s Shante Holloway set up North Pulaski’s first score at the 31:38 mark of the first half. Alvis blasted the free kick into the left corner of the goal to put the Lady Falcons up 1-0.

Ruple answered with a breakaway up the middle in the 13th minute before Alvis got the lead with a kick that went just inside the top of the net to make it 2-1.

Crews had a pair of misfires before she finally scored with six minutes left in the first half. Her two kicks from the middle of the field went wide, but she found the goal from the left side on her third attempt to increase North Pulaski’s advantage to 3-1.

The second half was scoreless until Crews struck again at the 24-minute mark, this time from close range. Ruple then scored on a free kick with 10:36 left to close the gap to 4-2, but Crews took an assist from senior Tara Taykowski for her third goal and a comfortable Lady Falcons’ lead with just over eight minutes remaining.

Crews broke away for her fourth goal with 6:44 left to play.