Redskins Victorious On the Road

On Wednesday, May 5th, your Lady Redskins traveled up to the town of Stem to face off in a second round showdown against the Granville Central Panthers. The Panthers were the highest seeded 1A team in their split conference and squeaked by Vance Charter in the first round, while Manteo put in a convincing first round win against Hobbton. However, all bets are off in every playoff round, and Manteo knew the Panthers would be eager to defend their home turf.

The game kicked off in favor of the Panthers. They were the aggressor on the ball while Manteo couldn’t seem to get off their heels and join the game. The Panther’s earned a shot on goal in the first two minutes of play, but goalkeeper, Montana Miller was able to easily field the shot. The first ten minutes of the game were mostly spent along the Manteo sideline, on their defensive half. It was an ugly start to the game that saw throw-in after throw-in. Manteo could just not get on the ball and connect consecutive passes.

The slow start may have been due to a long bus ride or the adjustment to a new pitch with a steep crown. Either way, the overall play was poor from the Redskins to start. It was not until about fifteen minutes into the game that Manteo woke up and began to maximize their efforts. Angelica Landazuri got the ball moving in the midfield and Hannah Hogan and Cici Lowe were often looking to combine down the flank to get the ball into the 18-yard box. On the other end, Thalia Gomez and Eva Klauser were chasing down runners and ending their attacks with strong standing tackles.

Through the first half, Manteo only earned five shots on goal, a far cry from their normal count. The play through the half was rather even on both sides and the teams entered the halftime period with a 0-0 score line.

Manteo came out of the halftime break looking like a new team. They were now playing on the front foot, pressing the issue and eager to separate themselves from the Panthers. Two minutes into the second half and Amy Rios Tovar gave the Redskins the spark they desperately needed. Landazuri got the play started by winning the ball in the center circle and driving forward. As she dribbled through the slot, pushing the backline onto the top of the 18-yard box, she attempted to slip the ball through the backline but it was deflected out wide. Rios Tovar had been making the run with Landazuri and the ball fell to her feet kindly while in stride. She took one touch into the box and then got a shot off just as the center-back pressed her. The goalkeeper had positioned well on the near post but the quick shot surprised her and stung her hands as it deflected behind the goalkeeper, beating her near post. The Redskins celebrated the 1-0 lead and looked to keep the momentum going.

A few minutes later, Manteo doubled their lead after Lowe earned the Redskins a free-kick midway down the left flank. Zavala took the free-kick and lofted the ball into a crowded 18-yard box. The ball took a high bounce through the box and Lowe opted for the side volley over the shoulder. Her shot was blocked by her defender and the battle for the second ball ensued. Lowe spun around, controlling the ball with her back to goal. Several other defenders rushed to her yet she maintained her composure and somehow faced up on goal, keeping the ball away from the surrounding bodies. She got her shot off, low and tucked nicely into the near post side-netting.

Ten minutes into the second half, Landazuri earned Manteo a corner kick after her cross was headed out by a defender. The resulting corner was sent in again by Landazuri, searching for a crashing Hogan atop the six-yard box. Hogan ran through the ball as it dropped just beyond two defenders and knocked it towards goal with her body. The ball spun off the outside of the up-right and out of bounds.

Unlucky not to score on her first attempt on goal, Hogan made her second attempt count just a minute later. Play began with Ragen Twiford winning the ball along the midline and quickly finding Lowe along the left flank. Lowe drove down the wing before cutting inside and playing a diagonal ball to Ortega just outside the 18-yard box. Ortega collected the ball on the half-turn, faced up the center-back, and then laid the ball off to Hogan who was making an inward diagonal run to the top of the box. Ortega laid it off nicely and Hogan opted for the shot on her first touch with her left foot. The quick shot was low and caught the keeper off guard as she scrambled across the goal-line. The ball clinked off the inside of the upright, and back across goal, crossing the goal-line on its way to the opposite side-netting. Hogan’s goal extended Manteo lead to 3-0 with just thirteen minutes drawn off the clock in the second half.

Manteo kept the momentum rolling for the rest of the game. Manteo’s midfield play elevated to control the game and create attacking opportunities for the Redskin forwards. Gomez and Klauser were stout in back, eating up anything that came their way and playing quality balls forward to feet to begin the next attack.

With five minutes remaining in the game, Klauser even opted for a solo run from the center-back position. She won the ball deep down the left flank and took off on a brilliant run with the ball, beating four Panthers along her way down the wing. As she dribbled to the top corner of the 18-yard box, she unleased a shot bound for the far corner only to be stopped by the quick movement of the goalkeeper. Despite the shot being saved, Klauser was all smiles on her way back to her position.

In the final five minutes, Manteo continued to pepper the goalkeeper as Granville had pushed bodies forward, leaving themselves a bit more exposed in the back. Despite the run of shots, most were directed right at the goalkeeper and no goals were to be added to the score-line.

The whistle blew and Manteo celebrated their 3-0 victory in the second round of the state playoffs. Manteo moves on to face East Carteret in the third round on Friday, May 7th.

Coach Cleaver stated after the game, “This was the tale of two half’s. We came out flat and played poorly in the first half. I asked the girls at halftime to win the first ten minutes of the second half. We scored three goals in those ten minutes so I’d say we accomplished that. Overall play was much better in the second half as we were much more creative on the ball. However, we need to be ready to play a full 80 minutes in the next round.”

Game stats:

Cici Lowe: 1 goal

Amy Rios Tovar: 1 goal

Hannah Hogan: 1 goal

Emma Ortega: 1 assist

Playoffs Get Underway With a Manteo Victory

On Monday, May 3rd, your Lady Redskins began their playoff run by hosting a first round game against the Hobbton Wildcats. The game was scheduled for a 5 PM kick-off time, but scattered thunderstorms throughout the area put the game on a lightning delay. By 5 PM, the storm had passed, allowing players to come out and warm up and the game would get underway just thirty minutes later.

The Wildcats had been having a solid season right up until April 15th, when they ran into a series of quarantine periods. They had not been able to practice or play since that date. Manteo would look to jump out to an early lead before Hobbton could knock the rust off.

Manteo did get off to a strong start, winning possession in the midfield right away and producing a concise combination through the right slot to spring winger, Cici Lowe, into the 18-yard box. Lowe got off a quality shot at a tough angle but inched it just wide of the near post in the first minute of the game.

Manteo’s central midfield trio of Angelica Landazuri, Ragen Twiford, and Hannah Hogan did well to win 50/50 balls sent out on punts and goal kicks to award Manteo with more attacking opportunities early in the game. Five minutes into the game and Manteo earned there first quality shot on target. A long throw-in from Landazuri on the left flank was brought down by Amy Rios Tovar in the 18-yard box. After a back and forth with the defender, Rios Tovar was able to square the ball back across the box to an awaiting Hogan. Hogan struck the ball on her first touch with her right foot, looking to tuck the ball away nicely into the side netting. The Wildcat goalkeeper made a fully extended diving save on the ground to parry the ball around the goal post and out of bounds for a corner kick.

Manteo focused in on attacking with overloads down the flanks, using one-two combinations to pass around defenders and get in behind the backline. The Redskins were really beginning to control the game but were struggling to find their finishing touch. Emma Ortega, Lowe and Landazuri were all getting shots off, but were unable to find the back of the net.

Fifteen minutes into the first half, striker Keylin Zavala, got Manteo on the scoreboard. Play began with a goal-kick taken by the Wildcats. Ortega battled with a defender just outside the 18-yard box to knock the ball down, out of the air, and over to an awaiting Zavala. Zavala collected the ball as the defender pressed her from the side. Zavala executed a beautiful “Maradona” to spin on top of the ball, keeping the defender on her back, and then unleashed a line-drive shot that stung the back of the net. The goalkeepers only option was to turn and watch the ball sail past her.

Shortly after, Hobbton earned there first quality look on goal after bringing the ball down off a free-kick that sent the ball to the top of the 18-yard box. Manteo was holding the line, and knocked the ball down, keeping it in front. A battle for the ball begin amongst several players on both teams. The ball deflected over nicely for a Hobbton attacker and she fancied a strike first time. It was well struck but directly at the goalkeeper. Montana Miller stood tall in goal and calmly stopped the shot on target.

Manteo ramped up their attacking efforts looking to take a strong hold over the game. Lowe and Hogan were prolific down the flank, seemingly executing one-two passing combinations around anyone that dared step to them.

With fifteen minutes remaining in the first half, Rios Tovar and Zavala combined to work the ball down the left flank. Rios Tovar stood her defender up near the corner of the 18-yard box. She then squared the ball inside to Ortega sitting atop the box. Ortega faced her defender and beat her to the right but a second defender stepped in to knock the ball away from Ortega. The ball popped over to Lowe who knocked it forward and back into the box. Ortega chased it down with a pressing defender on her shoulder. Ortega was able to win the ball, opting to volley the ball out of the air on her first touch. The volley was initially saved by the goalkeeper with fully raised hands and the ball squirted through her finger tips and behind her. The keeper quickly spun and reached back to knock the ball off the goal-line before it was able to bounce across for a goal. As the keeper went down and the ball bounced back out, Lowe pounced to knock it home and give Manteo a 2-0 lead.

Minutes later, Hobbton’s best look at goal came off a well executed short corner kick that saw the second ball find the runner to the back post. The Wildcat attacker opted to chest the ball and Miller was able to scurry across her line and catch the ball off the chest before the attacker could get a second touch for a shot.

In the final ten minutes of the first half, the Lady Redskins kept the goalkeeper busy with more shots on target but she was stepping up making terrific saves. With only a couple minutes remaining in the half, Lowe was able to beat the goalkeeper with a top drawer blast. Lowe drove into the 18-yard box from the right flank, attacking the near post. Her initial shot was blocked by the defenders back. Lowe collected the ball and then cut inside, drawing another defender with her. As the defender pressed hard in an effort to cut her off to the inside, Lowe pulled the ball back, sending the defender passing by. She pushed the ball back in front to set her shot and drilled the ball across the front of the goalkeeper and into the far-post upper corner. Manteo entered the halftime period with a 3-0 lead.

In the second half, Manteo continue to control the run of play for the most part. Hobbton opted to leave more players up front in an effort to draw one back and get back into the game. The Manteo backline of Thalia Gomez, Eva Klauser, and Lillie Twyne were up to the tasks of chasing down any long ball service sent through their line. The physical play of Gomez often broke up the attack, and Klauser used her speed to clean up any balls that may have squirmed their way into the final third.

Manteo worked hard up top in an effort to earn a fourth goal and seemingly put the game to bed. Rios Tovar and Ortega combined again, but Ortega’s shot was saved by the keeper. Lowe was continuing to give the Wildcat outside-backs fits down the flanks. Zavala and Landazuri were busy pulling the strings in the middle of the pitch and it seemed inevitable that a fourth goal would come.

The fourth goal came from a textbook counter attack that saw the build up begin deep on the left flank. Hogan won the ball in the defensive third before laying it off wide to Lowe. Lowe cut inside to beat her defender and continued to angle in before playing Zavala on a diagonal pass, leading her towards the right flank. Zavala chased the ball down into the space in front and dribbled to the top right corner of the box. She curled in a beautiful cross as she had Ortega picked out all alone inside the box, after the Hobbton backline had been stretched and pulled on the counter attacking switch of play. Ortega was unable to connect on the cross but Lowe had kept up with the counter attack she helped create and the ball fell to her on the back post. Lowe smashed it from six yards out. The pace on the shot was too much for the keeper to control and the ball deflected back into the goal, giving Manteo a 4-0 lead with 20 minutes remaining in the game.

In the remainder of the game, things continued as they were. Manteo controlled the game with possession and shots on goal while Hobbton looked to push bodies forward on a counter attack. Landazuri was unlucky to leave the game scoreless after striking the crossbar twice in a row in a span of two minutes.

The game would end as a 4-0 victory for the Lady Redskins and they move on to face Granville Central in a second round fixture.

Coach Cleaver stated after the game, “There were moments where we played brilliantly with beautiful combinations through the midfield and final third. There were also moments of laziness in which I let our girl’s know my unhappiness in regards to such. In the playoffs, we need to be sure to always play a full 80 minutes and give everything we have. Nothing else will suffice. I do think this team can continue our win streak and make a lot of noise in playoffs this year though.”

Game stats:

Cici Lowe: 3 goals

Keylin Zavala: 1 goal

Manteo Wraps Up Regular Season Play With Another Win

On Wednesday, April 28th, your Lady Redskins hosted Bear Grass Charter for their final regular season game. When the week began, the schedule noted the Hatteras Hurricanes as the opponent. However, Hatteras was unable to field enough players for the final game and Bear Grass Charter was kind enough to step in and travel to Manteo for the fixture.

The game kicked off with Manteo taking early control of the game. Bear Grass set up with two defensive low blocks, while holding two strikers up top. Manteo was able to control the game through midfield but struggled to navigate through the low blocks in the final attacking third.

When Manteo was able to break through the Bear Grass defense, they seemed to have left their finishing boots at home for the evening. Almost all of their shots were off target, and those that were not, did little to challenge the goal keeper as shooting into a howling wind was not helping their cause. As the half drew on and the score remained nil-nil, Manteo’s frustrations grew, and Bear Grass Charter’s confidence turned into a belief.

With three minutes remaining in the first half, Amy Rios Tovar collected a ball deep in the left corner of the pitch. She turned and faced up her defender, beating her with a side-step dribble and then played a low cross into the box. The ball found its way past the two defenders in the middle of the goal and made its way to Cici Lowe, waiting near the back-post. Lowe struck the ball on her first touch and placed it into the top corner of the goal. Lowe was quickly ruled offside by the narrowest of margins and the score remained a draw. Despite the goal being called back, seeing the ball go in the net did seem to give Manteo a bit of momentum going into the halftime period.

The halftime period was used to honor Manteo’s two senior players, Eva Klauser, and Ragen Twiford. Both players have been four year starters for the program. They are also the current captains of this year’s team.

As the second half got under way, Manteo looked reinvigorated in their attacking endeavors. The Lady Redskins began to move off the ball and involve a third-person runner for misdirection and options in their attacks.

Two minutes into the second half, and Manteo broke the deadlock. Keylin Zavala received the ball on the left flank after a diagonal run out wide. Zavala faced up and beat her pressing defender before squaring the ball into the top of the 18-yard box to find the feet of Lowe. Lowe took a collecting touch with her back foot, and set up her shot as she pushed the ball into the space beyond the two defenders near by. Lowe’s shot was lacking the normal power behind the ball but she placed the ball at an awkward height for the goalkeeper. The keeper bent over to catch the ball about her shins and fumbled the ball through her gloves, allowing the ball to trickle beyond the goal line for Manteo’s first goal.

Five minutes later, Manteo doubled their lead with a beautiful strike from Angelica Landazuri. A scrum formed in front of the 18-yard box as Lowe, Zavala, and Hannah Hogan all knocked the ball about before Hogan opted to find the space behind the scrum to an awaiting Landazuri. Landazuri took a collecting touch with her right foot and parried the ball across to her strong side. She unleased a strike off the laces of her boot that was always bound for the back of the net as a helpless goalkeeper could only stand by.

Manteo’s attacking forwards begin to notice the tendency of the Bear Grass defense to follow the ball in numbers. Therefore, they began to overload the flanks, looking to draw bodies away from the goal, opening up space for balls coming back central.

With twenty eighth minutes minutes remaining on the clock, Landazuri took off down the left sideline, drawing several defenders towards her as Zavala made a diagonal run out wide, drawing much of the backline in a wide shift. Landazuri cut in and quickly played a beautifully weighted ball over the top with the outside of her left foot to an on-running Lowe. Lowe’s pace tracked it down easy and found herself all alone in the 18-yard box with only the keeper to beat. The timing of her run was spot on but her finish was not. The goalkeeper was able to knock the shot down before collecting it.

Just before the second half mask break, Landazuri was on the move again down the left flank. This time she played Hogan into space in the left corner of the pitch. Hogan drew the defenders out wide and deep near the end-line. She then walked it back and played it back in front of Landazuri making a diagonal run into the box. Landazuri struck the ball first time. Her shot took a slight deflection off the shin of the Bear Grass center-back. The deflection froze the goalkeeper and the ball found the back of the net to give Manteo a 3-0 lead.

In the final twenty minutes, Manteo made a few adjustments and moved seniors Klauser and Twiford up top in an effort to get them a goal on senior night.

Manteo continued to dominate the run of play while only allowing a handful of counter attacks for the away side. The Manteo backline was up for the task of negating any real threatening shots, except for one which required a diving save from Montana Miller in goal. Miller made it look easy and Manteo kept their clean sheet.

With twelve minutes remaining in the game, Lowe brought down a high, bouncing ball in the midfield. A brief exchange of possession occurred as Lowe fought for the ball against two defenders. Lowe emerged with the ball and took off for goal. She drove the ball past four chasing defenders and worked it down into the 18-yard box. Lowe picked up her head up with great poise, eyed her spot as the keeper stood tall, and she curled the shot into the back post side-netting for her second goal of the evening.

Less than a minute later, Landazuri helped Twiford make it a memorable senior night. Landazuri drove the ball at pace, cutting inside from the left flank. Landazuri drew the attention of multiple defenders as Twiford pressed the back shoulder of the center-back atop the 18-yard box. Landazuri slotted a well-weighted ball through the backline for Twiford. She took one touch to push it forward and out of reach of the recovering defender. She beat the goalkeeper to the ball and with her second touch, tucked it nicely into the near post side-netting. Twiford and Klauser celebrated with a chest bump, as it is called for when either defender scores a goal.

The game ended in a 5-0 victory for the Lady Redskins. They wrap up the season with a 8-4 overall record, stringing all eight of their wins together in a row after loosing their first four contest.

Coach Cleaver stated after the game, “This was the game of two halves. We were not mentally focused and prepared to play in the first half and we allowed them to hand around. In the second half, we found some form and focus and played much better. I hope we can remember this lesson going forward. When we are mentally prepared and focused, we are a great team that can beat anyone. When we are not mentally dialed in, anything can happen. A nod to our seniors, Eva and Ragen. They have been tremendous over the years for our program and we will certainly miss this next year.”

Game stats:

Cici Lowe: 2 goals

Angelica Landazuri: 2 goals, 1 assist

Hannah Hogan: 2 assist

Ragen Twiford: 1 goal

Keylin Zavala: 1 assist

Undefeated Conference Champs

On Monday, April 26th, your Lady Redskins traveled up to Edenton to take on the Lady Aces for the Albemarle Athletic Conference championship game. In their previous fixture, Manteo bested the Aces by a score of 8-3. However flattering the score-line appeared to be, the Aces have offensive firepower up top, and are certainly a formidable opponent that Manteo would need to be at their best in order to win.

The Aces final home game of the regular season boasted senior night, a large crowd, and eager players ready for redemption. If Manteo were to win the game, they would hold the title of undefeated conference champions. If Edenton were to take the game in hand, both teams would be named conference co-champions, and a coin would be flipped in regards to who takes the higher playoff seed.

The game kicked off with with the Aces on the front foot, pressing high up the pitch, and looking to attack down their overloaded right flank. The early minutes saw a series of throw-ins, free kicks, and corner kicks for the Aces as Manteo looked to settle in and find their form. They weathered the storm and begin to get back on the ball in an effort to test the back four of the Aces.

Near the ten minute mark of the first half, Manteo sprung to life, as Keylin Zavala received a pass from Emma Ortega in the central midfield. Zavala drew the attention of both center-backs, executed a half turn, and slotted Cici Lowe behind the backline on the right flank. Lowe used her pace to win the ball first, used two touches to work the ball down into the 18-yard box, and then slotted the ball into the backside of the far post. It was a clinical finish but the flag had gone up and she was ruled offsides by the narrowest of margins. Despite the goal being called back, Manteo took some momentum from the strike, and would look to exploit the backline in the same manner in the future.

Minutes later, Lowe made a skill move around a defender in order to get off a shot near the top of 18-yard box. The ball was struck well and on target, but a fully extended diving save from the goal keeper parried the ball away from goal and back out into play. The rebound fell to Amy Rios Tovar atop the six-yard box. As she took a collecting touch, the defense was able to recover and knock the ball out of bounds on the sideline.

Angelica Landazuri took the resulting throw-in on the left flank. Landazuri launched the ball deep into the 18-yard box. The ball sailed over the heads of several defenders and took a bounce in front of a defender siting in front of the goal. Lowe tracked the bouncing ball into the box, waited patiently for the ball to come back down, and then volleyed the ball calmly into the back of the net with her side foot. The goal gave Manteo the lead with just thirteen minutes having been run off the clock.

In the following five minutes of play, Edenton was eager to draw level and was ramping up their attacking play. A foul from behind in the 18-yard box by a Manteo defender gave the Aces a penalty kick. Edenton’s leading scorer stood over the ball, ready to level the score. Her strike was low and just to the left of goalkeeper, Montana Miller. Miller read the direction of the shot and side stepped quickly to her side while dropping down. The ball deflected off Miller’s shin, and then deflected off the inside of the post. The ball quickly came right back to Miller on the ground. Her initial corral fumbled the ball back out in front of her but she was able to leap onto the ball and cover it up just before the attacking players of Edenton could get a second shot off. It was a brilliant and vital save to stymie the Aces momentum and hopes of regaining their footing in the game.

Miller came up big again just five minutes later after seeing a near post cross sit pretty inside the box. She sprung off her line and dove on the ball as the attacking player crashed into her. The forceful collision saw both ladies tumble about, but both were able to continue play unharmed.

On the offensive end, Manteo continued their efforts to play Lowe in behind the backline, allowing her to use her pace to create one on one’s with the goal keeper. Midway through the first half, Lowe saw a one verse one opportunity denied by the keeper. Shortly after, Lowe would make her next attempt on goal count.

Ortega began the play by coming back behind the midline to win the ball and faced up her pressing defender, taking a touch wide around her. As the initial defender looked to recover on the ball, the center-back was pulled up to contest the ball as well. Lowe came sprinting by on the overlap down the left flank. Ortega played a well timed pass, springing Lowe into open space on the run. Lowe dribbled the ball into the box at full pace, and then side stepped the recovering center-back, drawing the goal keeper to one side of the goal. After beating the defender with the move and positioning the goal keeper as she pleased, Lowe cut the ball back across the goal, on the ground, and into the side netting to give Manteo a 2-0 lead before the half.

Manteo began the second half with that 2-0 lead, knowing all too well that the next forty minutes would be difficult, as the Aces have not been shut out all year. Both sides knew that one more goal scored for either side would completely change the dynamics of the game.

In the first ten minutes of play in the second half, Manteo presented the stronger attacking side. Landazuri was unlucky not net a third goal for Manteo after pressing hard on their midfielder, turning her over, and streaking down the left wing before firing off a shot that ruffled the outside netting on the near post.

Edenton’s attack began to take shape, primarily all run down their right flank. The Manteo backline of Thalia Gomez, Eva Klauser, and Hannah Hogan stayed quite busy chasing down the attacking Aces, but they did well to keep them at bay for the most part and negate any truly threating attempts on goal.

With the conference title on the line, things heated up with physical play and hard challenges from both sides. Before the second half mask break, Manteo was awarded a free kick on the right side of their attacking third. Zavala lofted the ball into the 18-yard box and Ortega brought it down, laying it over to Lowe on the run in. Lowe got off a shot with a defender on her back that saw another diving save from the goal keeper. The ball deflected across the goal in the six-yard box. As the keeper scrambled to to get to her feet, Rios Tovar ran in on the ball for the follow up shot. With the goalie and a defender closing in on her, she got her shot off only to see it clank off the near post and back out wide.

With thirteen minutes remaining in the game, Lowe earned her hat-trick on the evening. Ortega again came back behind the midline to receive the ball, pulling the center-backs up with her. She used a pull-back to beat her pressing defender before sending the through ball out wide to Lowe on the run. Lowe’s marker was stride for stride with her as she took two dribbles down into the edge of the 18-yard box. She then cut the ball back and to the inside, seeing the defender stumble to the ground on the move. She eyed the near post of a well positioned goal keeper and slotted it home to give Manteo a much more comfortable 3-0 lead.

In the final ten minutes of the game, Edenton pushed bodies forward in an effort to inch back into the game. Manteo looked to remain strong defensively while sending long balls for counter attacks with Ortega and Erica Sawyer up top. Sawyer nearly netted her first goal on a break away only to see the goalie come up big with another great save.

On the other end, Edenton saw a long range shot ping off the crossbar, and a near post shot in the final minute swallowed up by Miller. The whistle blew and the Redskins were the undefeated conference champions.

Coach Cleaver stated after the game, “I’m so proud of our girls for their efforts tonight. We played with a lot of heart and we played intelligently, and in a manner that was useful to get the win. Our defensive players were huge all night, winning their one on one battles and keeping the clean sheet. Miller had big time saves for us as well. Ortega played a big role tonight, occupying multiple defenders in the middle to free up one on ones for Lowe, allowing her to display her pace and skill on the finishing end. The midfield trio of Twiford, Zavala and Landazuri worked hard tonight to muck it up in the midfield, keeping their attacking players off the ball more often than not. This was a great team win as everyone contributed in meaningful ways.”

Game stats:

Cici Lowe: 3 goals

Emma Ortega: 2 assists

Angelica Landazuri: 1 assist

Conference Win Streak Continues In Camden

On Friday, April 23rd, your Lady Redskins traveled back to Camden for the second time that week. On Monday, Manteo arrived in Camden at 5 PM, for a 6 PM game. A small rain storm set over the town, and the team were prepared to wait it out as it began to clear by game time. Regardless of the sun coming out, the referees decided the game could not be played, and sent Manteo home before the game could ever kick off.

In the previous fixture this year with the Bruins, Manteo bested Camden by a score of 3-0 while dominating the ball throughout the entire game.

The game kicked off in much of the same fashion. Manteo was on the ball early and often as Camden sat back in a heavily defensive shape. More often than not, the Bruins stacked nine defenders in and around the 18-yard box, with one lone striker sitting atop the midline. Manteo was able to control possession through the midfield but would need to be creative to get through the sea of defenders in front of the goal.

Manteo often looked to attack down the flanks, dragging defenders wide to open more space in the middle for strikers Emma Ortega and Keylin Zavala. Midfielders Angelica Landazuri and Hannah Hogan did well to combine and overlap with wingers, Cici Lowe and Amy Rios Tovar. In the early ten minutes of play, the tactics earned shots on goal and several corners.

In the 9th minute of the game, Manteo earned a string of corner kicks. On the third corner attempt, Lowe curled the ball into the six-yard box. Hogan tracked the ball on her run into the box and struck the ball with her right foot as the ball dropped into the box. The shot from Hogan stayed low and beat the goal keeper to find the back of net, giving Manteo a 1-0 lead.

Over the next fifteen minutes of play, Manteo began to move the ball with purpose and pace. Landazuri controlled the game through the midfield by checking to the ball, making diagonal runs, and quick distribution to the other attacking players. Despite the nine defenders in front of the box, Manteo was able to execute beautiful 1-2s up the middle in order to create shots on target.

With fourteen minutes remaining in the first half, a ball played into the box was handled by a Bruin defender and Manteo was awarded a penalty kick. Lowe stood over the ball to take the kick. With two quick steps up to the ball, Lowe curled the ball into the bottom left corner side netting. The goalkeeper, guessed correctly and made a great diving effort, but the ball was placed perfectly out of reach. Manteo took the 2-0 lead into half time.

The second half was more of the same with Manteo dominating possession and Camden sitting back in an effort to make things difficult for the away team. Hogan and Lowe used their skill and pace to combine and dominate the flank, while Zavala and Landazuri found their confidence on the ball to dice up the central defenders.

Just before the second half mask break, Manteo was unlucky not to add to their 2-0 lead. Landazuri began the possession by collecting the ball near the midline and played an overlapping Hogan towards the left. Hogan kept the switch, and played the ball along to Lowe on the left flank. Lowe cut the ball back inside and then squared the ball to the top of the box for the on-coming Landazuri. Landazuri struck the ball first time with her weak foot. She drilled it over the arms of the goalkeeper and the ball clanked off the crossbar and back into play.

With fifteen minutes remaining in the game, Lowe earned her brace on the evening with a clinical, low finish that found its way between multiple defenders, hit off the inside left post, and deflected behind the goal-line to give Manteo a 3-0 lead.

With two minutes remaining on the clock, Hogan penetrated the central midfield before laying the ball off out wide to Lowe. Lowe took a touch inward to set her shot up and then let it fly. The shot was on target and with good movement. The goalkeeper was positioned well but the movement on the ball gave her trouble as she parried the ball across the goal. Yadhira Gomez sprinted into the six-yard box and knocked the ball into the back of the net before the other defenders could obstruct her.

The game would end as a 4-0 victory for your Manteo Redskins.

Coach Cleaver stated after the game, “I feel we played really well tonight. Our passing was crisp and timely, and our off the ball movement was the best it has been all year. The girls were applying some of the concepts we have been working on in practice and it helped us find the net. If we continue to play like that, we will be tough to beat.”

Game stats:

Cici Lowe: 2 goals, 1 assist

Hannah Hogan: 1 goal

Yadhira Gomez: 1 goal

Possession Play Best Perquimans

On Wednesday, April 21st, your Lady Redskins traveled up to the town of Hertford to take on the Perquimans Pirates. In their previous fixture, the Redskins bested the Pirates by a score of 6-0. The second leg fixture would take place on Perquimans extremely wide field and with winds gusting above 25 miles per hour.

The game got underway, seeing Manteo control the ball early on as the Pirates sat back in a defensive shape. The Perquimans backline and center defensive midfielders camped out along the 18-yard line and swarmed any ball that came near. Manteo was going against the wind in the first half, and often mistakenly opted for outside of the box shots that held up in the wind, making easy work for the goalkeeper.

The Lady Redskins had no issues dominating midfield play as the home-side backline never left the 18-yard line. They were able to pass the ball around on the ground with ease through the midfield, but lacked the creativity and the determination to break through the final line of defense.

The deadlock was broken 12 minutes in the first half. The initial combination play through left slot and middle led to a shot attempt from Keylin Zavala. Zavala’s shot attempt was blocked, seeing the ball sail backwards and high into the air. The ball was brought down by Cici Lowe as she came in from the right flank to collect it. Lowe found Angelica Landazuri in the middle of the pitch. Landazuri looked to penetrate on the dribble, but found no room to do so. She pulled the ball back, and passed back to Hannah Hogan. Hogan drew the attention of their striker so she quickly played it to Lowe on the flank. Lowe and Hogan then executed a beautiful 1-2 passing combination around the outside midfielder to spring Lowe down the sideline, drawing the outside back over to defend the ball. Lowe beat the defender with a burst of speed and then let it fly from the top right corner of the 18-yard box. She lofted the ball over the outstretched hand of the goalie and into the far post side netting.

While the goal gave Manteo the lead, it did little to open the game up. The first half overall was a dull affair. Manteo earned a plethora of outside shots, but aside from Zavala drilling the crossbar, there were no more truly threating attempts on goal. On the few occasions that the Pirates squeaked the ball out of their own half looking to counter with two strikers, the Manteo backline of Lillie Twyne, Eva Klauser, and Thalia Aguirre Gomez were always there to shut it down promptly.

The Redskins took the 1-0 lead into halftime.

Coming out of halftime, the ladies looked a bit more energized with a better understanding of how to put the game to bed with another couple goals. The attacking play was a bit quicker, with short combination play, but they still struggled to break through the backline of the Pirates.

With the wind at their back now, it was again shot after shot for Manteo. Many shots were more troubling, but the goalkeeper was continually up for the task.

With 15 minutes remaining in the game, Manteo finally netted their second goal to seemingly but the game to bed as the Pirates had offered no real attacking threat all night. Lowe collected the ball out wide on the left flank, and found Hogan on a square pass into the middle of the pitch. Hogan drove the ball forward, beating one defender before causing the backline to step up a little bit. As the lined stepped up, Hogan found the feet of Emma Ortega as she has pushed the center-back into the box, holding her on her back hip. Ortega executed a well weight 1-2 pass with Hogan as Hogan continued her run into the box. Hogan took a touch, drawing the goalie off the line. She then slotted the ball home, passing it around the keeper as she came charging out.

Manteo continued to press the issue in the remaining minutes of the game. With two minutes remaining in the game, a moment of brilliance by Landazuri brought the score-line to 3-0.

Hogan and Lowe looked to attack the left flank. When Lowe could not turn the corner, she walked it back and dropped it to Hogan. Hogan then squared the ball into Landazuri, sitting atop the 18-yard box. Surrounded by three defenders, Landazuri’s first touch saw the ball pop up on her. As the ball lifted, she swung her left foot around on a side volley, striking the ball cleanly and bound for goal. The goalkeeper stumbled across the goal-line as she was caught off guard. The volley dropped into the bottom far-post side-netting.

The game ended in a 3-0 victory for the Redskins.

Coach Cleaver stated after the game, “A win and clean sheet is what we always play for. However, I would not state that we played well. We played lazy at times, and lacked creativity in the final third. Too often, we settled for outside shots, instead of challenging the backline. We totaled 45 shots as a team, but not enough of them were quality shots and it shows in the score-line. Final third creativity is something we will work on going forward.”

Game stats:

Cici Lowe: 1 goal

Angelica Landazuri: 1 goal

Hannah Hogan: 1 goal

Emma Ortega: 1 assist

Manteo Takes Down Undefeated Aces

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.”

Game stats:

Cici Lowe: 3 goals, 3 assist

Emma Ortega: 2 goals

Keylin Zavala: 2 goals

Angelica Landazuri: 1 goal, 1 assist

Eva Klauser: 1 assist

Lady Redskins March Past The Bruins

On the warm yet blustery afternoon of March 30th, your Manteo Lady Redskins hosted the Camden Bruins for their second conference fixture of the season. The Manteo and Camden rivalry dates back decades, and is always a hotly contested game. Both teams have gotten off to a slower than normal start this season, as both teams faced off against non-conference opponents, First Flight and Currituck. Camden was looking for their first win of the season after also dropping their first conference game to Edenton. Manteo was eager to began stringing wins together through their conference run.

The game kicked-off at a slow pace. The early minutes saw the ball finding its way beyond the sidelines often, helping to slow things down. In the fourth minute of play, Cici Lowe’s display of individual brilliance got the ball rolling for the Lady Redskins.

Lowe dispossessed the Bruin’s central defensive midfielder on the outside of the 18-yard box along the right slot. She took her dribble into the top corner of the box, cutting in to beat the outside fullback. Lowe then shifted the ball back to her right foot as the center-back came over to challenge her. Lowe set the ball into enough space to have her shot with the right foot and fired it into the far post side netting before the goalkeeper could react.

With a 1-0 lead, Manteo began to settle in on the ball and pin Camden back into their own half. With Manteo’s dominance on the ball, Camden often sat nine defenders back in front of the box while holding one lone striker atop the midline. Manteo’s short passing game kept the ball on the ground and earned them a number of great attacking opportunities.

With a gusting wind at their back in the first half, Manteo often opted to shoot from outside the 18-yard box. Keylin Zavala’s first shot from deep was collected by the goalie, while her second shot curled back across the goal, striking the crossbar and back into play. Lowe and Emma Ortega made an effort to redirect the deflected shot off the crossbar, but were unable to get clean strikes on the ball.

Ortega would later often find the ball at her feet inside the 18-yard box amongst a sea of bodies. She did well to find small pockets of space and use skill moves to set up her shot, but the goalkeeper continued to deny her shots with quality saves.

With sixteen minutes remaining in the first half, Lowe worked the ball down the left flank, dancing around multiple defenders before cutting the ball back inside and dropping it back to Zavala. Zavala unleased a shot from 25 yards out, again trying to curl it into the far post. The ball struck the post for the second time and deflected out of play.

Two minutes later, Lowe would earn a brace on the evening and double the lead for Manteo. Lowe and Zavala executed a one-two around a defender down the left flank. Zavala’s pass back to Lowe lead her into the 18-yard box, where she side stepped a defender and then got off a low shot. The low shot in the near post corner gave the tall goalkeeper trouble, and the ball was fumbled into the back of the net.

Through the rest of the first half, Manteo continued to earn quality shots on target. Their attacking presence was often initiated by Ragen Twiford. Twiford positioned herself well in front of the Manteo backline and cut out any intermediate passes that were intended to set up long ball service to the lone striker. Manteo took the 2-0 lead into halftime.

In the second half, Manteo had to to be more weary of Camden’s long ball tactics as they now had the wind at their back. Camden’s goalkeeper was now punting the ball well past the midline giving them a start to an attack that had been lacking all game long.

Manteo kept at their simple and short passing game tactics, working the ball down in and around the box before firing off shots. The style of play kept Camden pinned back in a defensive shell. However, Camden did make one halftime adjustment and added a second striker to sit atop the midline in an effort to create more attacking transitions.

Ten minutes into the second half, Angelica Landazuri dropped back deep to collect a ball in the defensive midfield. She brought the ball up to the midline before playing Zavala checking back to the ball. Zavala then played Landazuri back into space around the pressing midfielder. Landazuri then cut inside and slotted a pass to Ortega just inside the center of the 18-yard box. Ortega looked for a shot, but it was deflected upwards by the center-back. Lowe chased it down along the end-line and then cut it back across into the six-yard box for Ortega to have a second crack. Ortega’s shot was punched forward by the goalkeeper and back to the top of the box. Zavala collected the ball, side stepped a defender and found space for her shot. Zavala’s shot deflected off the shoulder of the center-back sitting 3 yards in front of the goalie, and rerouted around the keeper to find the back of the net. The goal gave Manteo a comfortable 3-0 lead.

Camden’s best and only real attacking threat came shortly after Manteo’s third goal. A long punt by the Camden goal keeper took a long hard bounce over two of Manteo’s backline defenders. Manteo’s keeper, Montana Miller, sprung off her line, but in a scurry of bodies, the ball slipped past her and was rolling towards the goal. Right-back, Thalia Aguirre Gomez, recovered behind the play and cleared the ball out of the box from just a couple yards off the goal-line.

Manteo continued their attacking play with a flurry of shots in the remaining minutes. Ortega would strike the crossbar off a shot from the left corner of the 18-yard box, making it the third time in the game Manteo was denied by the woodwork. Despite the numerous looks at goal, the game would end with the 3-0 score line.

Coach Cleaver stated after the game, “It’s always great to beat our conference rivals. I felt we controlled the game and dominated the run of play. We were a bit unlucky to find the post so often and their keeper made some great saves. With that being said, I feel our energy and effort could have been higher. We played well, but certainly not our best performance.”

Game stats:

Cici Lowe: 2 goals

Keylin Zavala: 1 goal, 1 assist

Conference Play Begins With a Win

On Monday, March 29th, your Lady Redskins hosted the Perquimans Pirates for the opening conference match. The Redskins had gotten off to a difficult start, going 0-4 in non-conference play as they faced off against local powerhouse programs, First Flight and Currituck. Despite the rocky start, the Lady Redskins were showing an improvement in form each contest, and showed their willingness to work hard for an entire 80 minutes, no matter who they were playing. The early tough games would serve them well going into conference play.

Upon the opening kick-off, Manteo was the aggressor on the ball. Perquimans held three high forwards at the midline, but kept everyone else back in a defensive shape. Manteo was able to continuously control play through the midfield, and work the ball down into the final attacking third.

In the opening eight minutes of play, the Lady Redskins were earning great shots on target, but were thumping them right at the goalkeeper. Strikers Emma Ortega and Keylin Zavala both posted multiple shots on target in the early parts of the game.

In the tenth minute of play, Cici Lowe brought down a throw-in alongside the right flank. Lowe picked her head up after her collecting touch and eyed center midfielder, Angelica Landazuri, making a run through the middle of the pitch. Lowe led Landazuri with her pass, allowing her to keep her momentum and drive through the midfield and into the final third. The Pirates backline defenders sat back along the 18-yard box so Landazuri opted to try her luck from distance. She unleashed a shot from 25 yards out, sailing the ball over the outstretched fingers of the goalie, and into the back of the net. Manteo took a 1-0 lead and never looked back.

Shorty after taking control of the game with the early goal, Manteo doubled their lead with a strike by Zavala. She brought down a cross from Ortega atop the six yard box. She kept her defender at bay with a fake to the left and then took a right footed shot that saw the ball strike the inside right post, and deflect behind the goal line, leaving the goalkeeper frozen in the middle of the goal.

As play continued in the first half, Manteo really took control of the game through their midfield trio of Ragen Twiford, Hannah Hogan, and Angelica Landazuri. The trio were dominant in collecting 50/50 balls and distributing the ball to spring attacking transitions.

The Manteo backline trio was also stout throughout the entire game. Lillie Twyne and Thalia Aguirre Gomez stepped hard into tackles when called upon, and center-back, Eva Klauser was always there to clean up anything that got past the line.

Midway through the first half, Manteo extended their lead with a goal from Amy Rios Tovar. Zavala and Lowe combined down the right flank to allow Lowe to play a low cross across the six-yard box. Rios Tovar positioned well to tap the ball in from three yards out.

Lowe would later find her shooting boots and net a goal for herself after being denied by the post just five minutes prior. Lowe and Hogan worked out a beautiful one-two combination around the center-back to spring Lowe into the 18-yard box with only the goalkeeper to beat. Lowe drilled a powerful shot across the goal, finding the far-post side netting.

With only minutes remaining before the halftime whistle, Landazuri would stretch the lead to 5-0. Landazuri drilled around one defender before speeding by the second defender in the left slot. Once she got into the top corner of the 18-yard box, she only had eyes for goal and lofted a beautiful shot over the goalkeeper and into the far-post side netting.

To begin the second half, a few positional changes were made for the Redskins, however, their dominance on the ball remained the same. They continued to created a plethora of quality attacking opportunities and earn shots at goal.

With twenty minutes remaining in the game, Landazuri netter her first varsity hat-trick with another beautiful striker from just outside the box. She curled the ball into the top corner, leaving the goalkeeper’s only option to turn and watch it tickle the netting.

The Lady Redskins would hold strong through the remaining minutes, earning a 6-0 victory to begin their conference play.

Coach Cleaver stated after the game, “I was really please with our passing on the evening. We kept the ball on the ground and moved it in short, concise diagonal passes, and executed some really nice one-twos. Our defense and keeper did their jobs when asked to do so, and our midfielders ran the show. This is certainly a positive win to build off of going into a tough game against Camden later in the week.”

Game stats:

Angelica Landazuri: 3 goals

Cici Lowe: 1 goal, 1 assist

Amy Rios Tovar: 1 goal

Hannah Hogan: 1 asssist

Keylin Zavala: 1 goal

Emma Ortega: 1 assist

Montana Miller: 7 saves

Conference Play Opens Against Gates

On the warm spring evening of March 11th, your Lady Redskins traveled up to Gatesville to take on the Lady Red Barons in the Albemarle Athletic Conference opening game. The game would mark the first time the teams have faced off as this is Gates County’s inaugural season of girl’s soccer.

Manteo took immediate control of the game upon kick-off as the Red Barrons sat back in a heavily defensive shape. At all times, the home side had at least eight players behind the ball. At other times, they had all ten behind the ball, opting to negate scoring chances rather than to create them. The defensive tactic, coupled with the narrow and short field made for limited space for Manteo to attack. Wingers were tasked with holding width on the sideline but Manteo’s normal prime distributor in the middle, Libby Robertson, was on the sideline for much of the first half with a jewelry malfunction. These factors all contributed a sloppy first ten minutes of play. Manteo’s sluggish pace did not help either.

Ragen Twiford and Amy Rios-Tovar stepped up in the twelfth minute to get the Redskins going in the right direction. Twiford brought down a punt in the midfield and beat her defender along the right flank before playing a low cross into the middle of the box. The cross just missed Willa Brown, the initial target in the middle, but Rios-Tovar made a late run in off the far post.  Rios-Tovar struck the ball first time with her right foot and then watched it curl into the near post side netting.

Manteo’s second goal began again with the Twiford bringing the ball down out of the air from a punt. Twiford chested the ball down to collect at her feet and then quickly played Brown, who was pressing the length on the backline. Brown played a simple diagonal ball backward to Keylin Zavala on the forward run. Zavala executed a beautiful 1-2 combination with Brown as Brown had immediately turned to make her run through the line. The ball played Brown in behind the line and she found herself all alone in the 18-yard box. Brown kept it simple again with a low shot just out of the keeper’s reach that found the back of the net putting Manteo up by a score of 2-0.

Brown became a pressing machine up top, realizing that Gates was having a lot of trouble getting the ball out of their defensive third. Brown earned her second goal by intercepting a short goal-kick and quickly firing it into the back of the net before the goalkeeper could get back into a decent position.

Twiford found the back of the net after cleaning up a ball that squirted through the backline between two defenders.

Robertson entered the game with fifteen minutes remaining in the half and made an immediate impact. The Lady Redskins got back to combination play and it was evident in the beautiful build-up of their fifth goal.

Goalkeeper, Courtney Daniels, made a long throw out to Twiford on the left-wing. Twiford turned the ball forward and then played Zavala down the line as she made a diagonal run out of the supporting striker position. Zavala drew two defenders immediately and then squared the ball back into the middle as the center defensive midfielder, Ayanna Selby, was filling into the attacking space. Selby received the ball and played a diagonal ball to Brown up top. Brown made a one-touch diagonal pass into the 18-yard box for Robertson to run onto. Roberston beat two defenders to the ball, cut it back inside the six-yard box and then chipped the keeper and dropped the ball into the back of the net along the back-post.

Entering the half with a 5-0 lead, Manteo did not feel great about their overall play. While they had their moments of quality play, the overall intensity and effort were lacking.

The second half overall was much better in terms of effort. The ball moved with more of a purpose and the Lady Redskins earned a plethora of shots in the half, but many were off target.

Zavala’s one shot on target in the second half was one from 30 yards out. It was a high and lofty strike that sailed on the keeper and over her outstretched fingertips before dropping in the back of the net.

Daniels was moved out of her normal goalkeeping position to play striker. Daniels found the back of the net twice with thunderous strikes that stung the back of the net.

Daniels was relieved by Emma Ortega in goal. Ortega made two quality saves in the second half to keep the clean sheet for the Lady Redskins.

The game would end as a 8-0 victory for Manteo.

Coach Cleaver stated after the game, “It’s nice to start conference play with a win, but if we want to be undefeated conference champs again, we will need to start playing much harder and better than that. We need to play at our maximum level each and every night, no matter who we play. We need to train at our maximum level each and every practice in order to reach the next level we wish to be at. The season is still young, but I’m eager to see us at our best as I have not seen it yet.”

Game stats:


# Athlete Name Min Goals Asst Pts Stls CK
Team Totals 8 4 20
1 Emilia Vasquez (Fr) 1 1
4 Amy Rios (Fr) 1 2
9 Willa Brown (Sr) 2 4
13 Ragen Twiford (Jr) 1 1 3
15 Courtney Daniels (Sr) 2 4
18 Keylin Zavala (So) 1 2 4
21 Libby Robertson (Sr) 1 2



Due to COVID-19, all practice and games are suspended until April 6th. Scheduling changes will be made when we are closer to that date and have more information.