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Cleland's Kick Wins it!

Varsity vs East Carteret HS on 3/9/2011 6:00:00 PM
Posted Wednesday, March 09, 2011 by Dana Steele, Assistant Coach
Cleland's kick wins it Eagles off to 4-0 start in soccer March 09, 2011 8:59 PM VANCEBORO

— Lauren Cleland lined up her shot, hoping the East Carteret goalie would go to her right. The West Craven senior approached the ball on a penalty kick, coming with 11:36 remaining in Wednesday’s soccer game. Cleland drew back her leg, then hammered the ball to the left corner of the goal. It sailed into the back of the net, proving to be the game winner in a 3-2 victory. “It felt very good because it gave us the win,” Cleland said. “On a penalty kick, you always have to go for the corners. The goalie usually picks a side to go to and you’re hoping that they’re not going to pick your side. It can be stressful, but you just have to have a good mindset.” The Eagles (4-0) remain unbeaten on the season. “This is going to help us out for the rest of the season,” first-year West Craven coach Jana Dennis said of the nail biter. “We were able to stick together as a team and we stayed focused. Being able to pull that off was amazing.” The Eagles were scored on for the first time this season after three consecutive shutouts. However, goalie Stormy Pledger, who finished with eight saves, kept the Mariners at bay for most of the game. Freshman Meredith Jones netted her first career goal to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead. The striker broke free of her defender and ripped the ball into the net midway through the first half. “It felt really good,” Jones said. “I’ve been having all these shots on goal and they kept getting stopped by the goalie. It feels nice to finally get one in.” Dennis is hoping it’s the first of many goals for Jones. “I’m hoping it’s going to boost her confidence,” Dennis said. “She’s been practicing so hard. Hopefully there will be more (goals) to come. I know there will be.” The Mariners tied the game less than five minutes later. Freshman Jamie Cherry gave the Eagles a 2-1 lead with a breakaway goal six minutes into the second half. East Carteret tied it again off a corner kick, coming with just over 16 minutes to play. However, Cleland’s penalty kick less than five minutes later won it for the Eagles. “She’s one of our captains and she has always stepped up,” Dennis said of Cleland. “You can count on her to kick that very important goal.” Jones said it felt good to be a part of a thrilling win. “I’m glad we did,” Jones said. “We really have strength in our team. “I think we’re doing really good. We’re going to have a good season.” The Eagles play host to Lejeune on Monday, then begin Coastal Conference play at West Carteret on Tuesday. Kevin Travis can be reached at 252-635-5669 or at ktravis@freedomenc.com.

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