Patriots off to a Sizzling Start

August 27, 2013

Sunday, August 25, 2013

By CHRIS PRIDE – Bulletin Sports Writer

Coming off a season-opening 4-2 win at Hollins University Friday, the Patrick Henry Community College women’s soccer team not only matched its win total of last season, but the total goals scored as well.larissa

If there were any signs of slowing down or coming back to Earth Saturday in their Region X opener against USC-Lancaster, it certainly didn’t show in the second half. Freshman Larissa Ayo was a big reason why.

Ayo recorded a hat trick and single handily disposed of the Lancers in a three minute window of the second half as the Patriots opened the season 2-0 after defeating USC-Lancaster 4-1 at the Smith River Sports Complex. With her two goals Friday, Ayo now has five goals in two games, more than the entire team scored a year ago.

“It feels good and it motivates the team when I’m doing good,” Ayo said. “I think we’re going to be a team that’ll be better respected. I think we are putting a little more power to our name.”

The speedy 5-foot-3 freshman had seven of her team’s 17 shots and the only time she scored was when she put her shots on frame. She missed three good opportunities in the first half from just beyond the right corner of the six-yard box. Missing the target was also the case for Magna Vista High School graduate Brittany Boitnott, who missed a golden chance at the top of the 6 by firing an open look just wide of right post.

Only three of the Patriots’ eight shots in the first half were on target.

“I thought we had some quality shots in the first half just didn’t put the ball in the net, and I don’t think we had many on frame, maybe one or two,” PHCC head coach Larry Wylie said. “We had our chances just didn’t convert. I think we started to panic a little bit. If we can’t contain our composure against some of the other good teams we’ll face then we could be on the other side of a score like this.”

Ayo finally broke the ice in the 37th minute when she found some open space a little right of center outside of the penalty box. Instead of dribbling into a crowd she fired the shot from distance, surprising the Lancers’ goalkeeper, and placing a perfect shot inside the left post.

Four minutes later, USC-Lancaster was awarded a penalty kick, which Bassett High School graduate Alvalous Barbour saved. However, on the ensuing corner kick as a result, the Lancers’ Mecca Love gathered a loose ball near the penalty marker and scored on shot to the lower left corner to tie the match 1-1.

That was final threat USC-Lancaster had, tallying just two shots in the second half.

Meanwhile, the Patriots upped the attack in the second half as Ayo made a pair of nice runs up right channel into the box. Ayo was able to rip a shot past the keeper to the near post in the 63rd and 66th minutes to quickly give PHCC a commanding 3-1 lead.

Bassett’s April Garcia then found another Khadijah Wilson — a G.W.-Danville product — in the 80th minute on a well-placed diagonal ball up the middle behind the defense. Wilson deposited the breakaway attempt to the right corner to seal the deal.

“One of the adjustments we made at halftime was to move the ball side-to-side more, because I thought we got caught in being too direct in the first half,” Wylie said. “Whenever we got the second goal it was like the light bulb came on. We started making the runs inside the defenders and behind the midfielders and hit players in stride.

“The freshman we brought in are pretty skilled and we added a great deal of speed. Between Ayo and Khadijah Wilson and even in the back with Taylor Flick and Jailene Cartagena we’ve got a lot of speed as well as size. We’ve got strong players that can handle the body and others that are goal hungry and go to the net.”

PHCC led in shots 17-8. It also put six of its nine second-half shots on target.

The Patriots’ next match is Wednesday at Frederick Community College.

“We can’t get too over excited as a program because we won two games,” Wylie said. “We’re still by no means as high a level program as we want to be, although we’ve made big strides towards that. We’re scoring goals but also have given up only three goals, and a goal-and-a-half per game given up would be a nice average to keep.”

Filed under: Women's Soccer