On Monday, April 12th, your Manteo Redskins hosted the Edenton Aces in their third conference fixture of the season. Going into the game, the Lady Redskins had been finding their form in conference play, winning their first two games and keeping clean sheets in both contest. The Aces appeared to be their most challenging conference opponent as they touted a perfect 7-0 record going into the matchup. Manteo would need to be up for a difficult game, and find their form quickly after a week off for spring break.
The game got off to a dreadful start for Manteo. The Aces started strong, looking to capitalize on their speed up top. Their right winger was able to work the ball down the flank before cutting into the box. The ball took a kind deflection for the attacker that allowed her to get her shot off just before goalkeeper, Montana Miller, could close on the ball in the box. Three minutes into the game, and Manteo found themselves down a goal.
The Lady Redskins did well to keep their heads up and stick to their system. They began to get on the ball and work it down through short, combination play.
Five minutes after conceding the first goal of the contest, the Redskins equalized with a goal from Keylin Zavala. Cici Lowe took a throw-in from the right sideline, and launched the ball beyond the backline of the Aces. Zavala chased it down, splitting and beating the defenders to the ball to find herself all alone in the box with only the goalkeeper to beat. Zavala kept it low and towards the near post to slot it home for the equalizer.
The game began to open up. Shortly after the restart, Eva Klauser and Montana Miller were called into action again. The speed of the Aces up top saw their attacker work the ball back down into the box. Klauser did well to chase her down and redirect her path at goal, forcing a extra miss-touch, allowing Miller to come out and scoop the ball up from her feet.
Manteo quickly worked the ball back down into their attacking half, earning another throw-in along the right flank. Lowe took the throw-in again, finding the feet of Angelica Landazuri. Landazuri played the ball straight back to Lowe as she entered the field of play. Lowe then crossed the ball into the six-yard box. The ball was cleared out to the top of the box by a defender. The ball rolled out nicely for Zavala atop the 18-yard box. Zavala beat her defender to the ball, and struck it first time with her left foot. This time, she opted to aim high, lofting it over the outstretched arm of the goalkeeper and finding the back of the net to give the lead to the Redskins.
The Lady Redskins kept the momentum, and began to display their offensive firepower to the shock of the visiting team. Manteo was dominating play down the right flank through combination play with Landazuri, Zavala, and Lowe. Lowe showed her quality to earn Manteo’s third goal of the evening. She received the ball just outside the right corner of the 18-yard box. She looked to cut inside but was cut off. She pulled the ball back, waited for the defender to lunge, and then pushed the ball around to the outside of the defender before firing off a shot. She had a difficult angle and much to do with the shot, but she found the far post side netting by drilling the ball over the goalkeepers outstretched arms.
Shortly after, Lowe was able to bring down a throw-in inside the the 18-yard box, before squaring the ball over to an awaiting Emma Ortega. Ortega ran onto the ball to strike it first time, keeping the ball low and beating the goalkeeper to give Manteo a 4-1 lead.
The first half was still underway with twenty minutes remaining, but Manteo’s attacking play was still running rampant. The combination of Lowe and Landazuri again proved lethal as Lowe was able to slot Landazuri through the high line with a well-weighted one-two combination pass. Landazuri’s pace allowed her to enter the box for a one on one with the goalkeeper. The goalkeeper stayed on the line, and Landazuri calmly passed the ball into the low corner.
With ten minutes remaining in the first half, Edenton was able to get one goal back after a through ball slipped through the Manteo backline. Thalia Aguirre Gomez did well to recover and pressure the forward as she made her way into the box, but the attacker was able to remain strong on the ball and slot it home.
Manteo entered the half with a 5-2 lead.
While Manteo touted a strong three goal lead, they knew it would not necessarily be enough in the fast paced, open game. They were eager to have a strong ten minutes of opening play in the second half to stymie any hopes of a come back the Aces might fancy.
Instead, the Aces again got off to a fast start to open the half in the first minute of play. They netted their third goal of the evening after the right forward was able to turn the corner on the end-line before cutting the ball back atop the six yard box to the awaiting central forward. The forward did well to strike the ball first time and bang it home from close range.
The Redskins were able to settle the game back down a bit, and keep the Aces at bay, stepping up their control of the midfield. Ten minutes into the second half, Manteo regained their three goal lead with another goal from Lowe. A free-kick was awarded to Manteo in their defensive midfield. The Aces opted to hold a high line on the kick. Klauser chipped the ball over the high line for Lowe to run onto. Lowe won the race to the ball just atop the 18-yard box. She cut the ball back to the inside and around her defender before fancying a shot from atop the box before the second defender could pressure her. She laced it, top corner, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance at a save.
With 17 minutes remaining on the clock, Lowe cemented her first hat trick of the season and surely put the game out of reach for the Aces. Landazuri won and brought down a bouncing ball along the midline in the center of the field. She drew the attention of the center-back, allowing Lowe to make a central run as Landazuri played Lowe through the high defensive line. Lowe again used her pace to earn a one on one with the keeper, and slotted it home, giving Manteo a 7-3 lead.
Two minutes later, Edenton opted to play short on their goal-kick. The receiving fullback tried to play a pass out on her first touch as Lowe pressured the ball. The ball was mishit, and Lowe intercepted and drove towards the goal. Her path to goal was cut off. She pulled the ball back, spun around with patience and then squared the ball into the middle of of box, finding Ortega making her way in. Ortega took her first touch under pressure. She stayed strong on the ball to hold her defender off, allowing for her shot on the second touch. She roofed it, clanging the bottom of the crossbar. The ball bounced straight down behind the goalkeeper and over the goal-line to give Manteo an 8-3 lead.
In the remaining 15 minutes of play, Edenton threw everything they had at Manteo, trying to edge their way back into the game. Manteo stood strong with their back three of Gomez, Klauser, Hogan, while their defensive midfielders, Twiford and Zavala, sat back to protect the backline. The attacking numbers of the Aces allowed for more counter attacks at the other end for Manteo, and while they earned several more great looks at goal, they were unable to find the back of the net again. The game ended in a 8-3 victory for your Lady Redskins.
Coach Cleaver stated after the game, “This was a really interesting game. The score line flatters us, but Edenton is a strong and capable team. We did well to finish our opportunities, especially in the first half, and that was the difference in the game. I felt our fitness faltered at times after a week off, but we always seemed to regain our composure at just the right time and keep the Aces at bay. I appreciated the tactical battle in the first half with the other coach, as we both made changes, looking to match speed with speed. Our team was willing to be flexible and do as I asked them, and I appreciate their willingness to do what it takes to win. This was a big conference win for us.”
Cici Lowe: 3 goals, 3 assist
Emma Ortega: 2 goals
Keylin Zavala: 2 goals
Angelica Landazuri: 1 goal, 1 assist
Eva Klauser: 1 assist