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Saints take control in second half

September 10, 2010|By WILL ROBINSON/Staff Correspondent

HANCOCK -- Despite a strong push from Hancock in the final minutes, the Saint James Saints held on for a 3-2 girls soccer win Thursday night, sending the Panthers to their fourth straight loss.

Mary-Kate Afzali led the Saints (2-1) with two goals, and Madison Fahey tallied the third.

Hancock (0-4) squandered two early chances for scores when their first two shots on goal ricocheted off of the right post and crossbar.

Still, the Panthers drew first blood in the 19th minute, when Brooke Mann found the back of the net from amongst a scrum in front of the net.

Afzali scored the equalizer in the 32nd minute, leaving the first half in a 1-1 tie.

"We were a little disorganized in the first half, and we gave them many chances," said Saint James coach Ted Camp. "But in the second half, we were able to control the tempo."

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And control it they did, as most of the second half was played on Hancock's side of the field. With the defenders paying close attention to Afzali, Fahey was able to slip behind them in the 45th minute to put Saint James up 2-1.

"Mary-Kate is tenacious, and she's easily one of our best players," said Camp. "Madison was able to take advantage of their defense focusing on her."

Afzali scored what would be the winning goal in the 64th minute when her shot bounced off of goalie Kelsie Munch's outstretched hand and trickled into the net.

The Panthers would not go quietly, as clutch passing allowed Rebecca Burcham to find the open net in the 77th minute, pulling them within one goal. It ended up being too little, too late however, as Saint James goalie Rose Chiumento blocked their final two shots on goal to put the game away.

Hancock coach Karen Sorenson admittedly has a team in flux, but she knows the tenacity in her players, despite their record.

"They definitely battled it out tonight, it was a remarkable difference from last game," said Sorenson. "We've been switching girls around trying to find the positions where they can thrive. My team is young, all I can ask for is improvements, and I'm seeing the results each game."

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