Tuesday, April 03, 2012

SPORTS >> Falcons get dominant, win over Mills ladies

Leader sportswriter

The Lady Falcon soccer team picked up its first victory of the season in dominant fashion with a 3-0 shutout over Mills University Studies at Falcon Stadium on Friday.

The Lady Falcons (1-4, 1-0) got a clean sheet from goalkeeper Stephanie Ogden and another strong performance in the backfield from speedy defender Ashley Cullen, while forwards Ariel West and Ilycia Carter kept possession in North Pulaski’s favor most of the way. West scored North Pulaski’s first two goals while senior Mercedes Wilson added the final score off a late penalty kick to cap off the dominant performance.

“We’re continuing to do the same drills and working on what we need to work on,” Lady Falcons coach Kendra Sauheaver said. “We go back and take a look at what we did during the game and go from there. It’s never your night; you never know which way it can go.”

Ogden came up with four saves total, including two close calls on breakaways that she stopped just in time to keep the Lady Comets off the scoreboard. The Lady Comets were in position for several more opportunities, but struggled to get by Cullen, who used her speed to stop potential breakaways.

“I’m very proud of my team; they kept the ball where it should have been,” Ogden said. “She was getting pretty close, and the other one was pretty close, and I just went out and grabbed it. Altogether, on our games, we haven’t been playing as a team, but we’re talking now. We are doing better. I think as the year goes on, our progress will be even better.”

Carter had two good strikes early on that were stopped, but West’s 15-yard shot off an assist from Carter in the 33rd minute of the first half got through to give the Lady Falcons a 1-0 lead.

“It was a great pass,” West said. “We were talking, which we’ve been practicing. Practice makes perfect, and we’ve got some great coaches. It just all came together on both of those shots.”

West’s second goal at the 13:09 mark of the second half was much different, as her slow roller from close range caught the Mills goalkeeper snoozing and skipped into the net right beneath her to increase North Pulaski’s lead to 2-0.

“I think I dipped around her a little bit there,” West said.

West was going for the hat trick in the final three minutes with a nice 20 yarder from the left side that was saved.

“I know the team is proud, and I’m proud of the team,” West said. “I love them, and they love me.”

Mills came close to tying the game midway through the second half, but Odgen made a diving save on a breakaway shot to keep North Pulaski’s lead in tact, and the Lady Comets never threatened again.

Wilson put an exclamation point on the game at 31 minutes when she drew heavy contact in the middle in front of the Mills goal to earn a close-range penalty kick, and got the goal with a low shot into the right corner.

The Lady Falcons hosted 5A Southeast Conference front runner Sylvan Hills last night and will host White Hall next Tuesday.