WENDELL — Corinth Holder’s soccer team pushed long enough Thursday night to break through Franklinton’s defense and claim a 5-2 overtime victory.
Trailing 2-1 at intermission, the Pirates evened the match with 26:13 remaining in regulation, scored the winning goal with 13 seconds left in the first overtime period and added a pair of insurance goals in the second 10-minute extra session.
What Worked: The Pirates dominated action throughout the match, keeping constant pressures on Franklinton keeper Anna Moss, utilizing a tactical adjustment made at halftime by coach Alison Vetterl.
Vetterl realized the Pirates were having difficulty with its straight-forward attack up the middle of the field, which was effectively neutralized by Moss.
With one of its top scorers, Felice Hewitt sidelined with an injury, Vetterl moved the attack to the wings.
“We told the girls to stick together on the field and work it (ball) through,” said Corinth Holders coach Alison Vetterl. “Their goal keeper was playing out against us in the first half, so we wanted to move the ball to the outside and work it in, making her (Moss) move from side-to-side, and it worked.”
What Didn’t Work: Moving the ball up the middle in the first half, and the ability to finish until overtime. After equalizing the score, the Pirates had several near-misses before breaking through.
Unsung Heroes: Sophomore forward/midfielders Juliana Latona and Allie O’Hara, who stepped up and took over when Hewitt went to the bench.
Vetterl praised Latona for her efforts, acknowledging she had played very aggressively up top to aid the Pirates in taking the victory, while O’Hara played her typical all around game.
“I think that combination and knowing that one of our top scorers was down and out led to their efforts,” Vetterl said.
Defensively, juniors Christi Innocent and Amber Rogers, sophomore Sammi Berumen and freshman Amanda Eckard came together and shut down the Red Rams after Franklinton had burned the secondary for a pair of breakaway scores and the 2-1 halftime lead.
Turning Point: Franklinton had rebuffed every Corinth Holders’ thrust after an early goal by Latona from Gray five minutes into the match had provided the Pirates with a 1-0 lead. But Moss who time and again had come far off her line to try and spark the Red Rams offense, ventured close to midfield to try and direct a kick to her teammates in hopes of generating an attack. That kick was picked off by the Pirates, who surged up the middle of the field.
Moss raced back to goal, but could not prevent O’Hara from scoring on a cross from Bella Iorio to even the match.
Scoring: Lotano added the go-ahead goal on a three-on-one break on an assist from Innocent, while Iorio added two insurance goals.
Iorio’s first was an unassisted 35-yard blast 16 seconds into the second overtime, then finished on a dish from Blake Taylor with 1:13 to play.
Franklinton’s Krista Strain and Hannah Rayman assisted each other on first period goals at 14 and 19 minutes, respectively.
What It Means: The victory enabled the Pirates (9-2 overall) to take a firmer grasp of second place in the Northern Carolina 2A Conference with a 5-1 league mark.
Corinth Holders moved one-half game behind front-running Roanoke Rapids in the NCC Standings, while Franklinton dipped to 7-4-1 overall and 3-2.
“We’re out here playing for a conference championship,” Vetterl said. "And a loss or a tie will not help us at all.”