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Eagles edge Saints

October 08, 2003|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

ST. JAMES - The difference in fortunes on the playing field often is slight.

For the second time in eight days, one goal separated the Hedgesville and St. James girls soccer teams as they continue to streak in opposite directions.

The Eagles (6-3-2) extended their winning streak to four and St. James' losing skid to five with a 1-0 victory Tuesday. Hedgesville beat the hard-luck Saints (1-8) 2-1 last Monday.

"We survived," Eagles coach Sonny Tippett said. "It wasn't pretty, but we survived."

It didn't have the makings of a close one early. Hedgesville scored on its very first shot, less than two minutes into the game, as junior forward Leslie Kirk chipped a cross pass over St. James keeper Whitney Neilson and sophomore forward Jennifer Hoffman tapped it in for the 1-0 advantage.

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"I thought I'd be able to sit down on the bench and relax for a change," Tippett said. "But they presented a lot of problems for us.

"We had a lot of scoring opportunities in the first half but didn't capitalize. And as the game went on, they got more confidence and didn't let us settle into a passing game."

St. James, which dominated in ball possession, outshot Hedgesville 15-13, including an 8-3 edge in the second half. But the back of the net continued to elude the Saints.

"We've been playing well, but we can't score," St. James first-year coach Julie Salit said. "That's where we are, our record doesn't really show it.

"But Hedgesville is a tough team. They got that early goal and then we were digging the rest of the game."

Eagles goalie Kim Beaulieu certainly didn't help the Saints' cause, making 12 saves and withstanding eight St. James corner kicks for her first shutout of the year.

Her most impressive stop came midway through the second half. With the Saints buzzing in front of the net and their fans and bench on their feet, Beaulieu snagged Emily McCormack's sharp header before it could tie the game.

"St. James is a very aggressive team," Tippett said. "Kim comes up big when it's needed."

Neilson finished with nine saves for St. James.

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