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SHALLOTTE—Goalkeepers hope to be as lonely as the guy in the Maytag repairman commercials, but West Brunswick’s Ariel Gravino didn’t have that luxury in a match last Wednesday.
She faced 19 shots on goal and made a whopping 15 saves, but a trio of Laney High School’s shots slipped through, and the Trojans fell 3-0 in M.H. Rourk Stadium.
“Ariel always does a really good job,” said West coach Laura Libero. “To have 15 saves out of 19 shots on goal is not too bad at all.”
While the West keeper faced a constant barrage from the Buccaneers, the Laney keeper made four saves to thwart all of West’s shots on goal.
Laney’s Natalie Walker scored 12 minutes after the match started and Brittany Batts scored 12 minutes later to give the Buccaneers a 2-0 lead at intermission.
Laney coach Dave Karlson said he told his team that 2-0 was the most dangerous halftime score in soccer because if the opponent scored early in the second half, it could seize the momentum.
Exactly four minutes into the second half, Laney scored the final goal of the game on a shot by Alexis Quinones.
“It was a nice game for us to turnaround after a tough match against Jacksonville and New Hanover,” Karlson said.
He was especially pleased with the second goal made on a wall pass that the team had been concentrating on in practice.
“Their goal keeper made a fantastic stop on it but it kind of inched on through,” Karlson said. “West Brunswick has some very talented players. I saw Mary Dorn before the game and asked her, ‘Are you still here?’
“Their goalkeeper made some nice saves.”
Gravino leapt to catch one ball over her head, and she made diving saves on multiple occasions.
Karlson said he was also impressed with Trojan right wing Mariah Evans.
West’s best chance at scoring came when Evans outraced her opponent from the right side and booted the blue-and-white ball dead-on toward the goal, but a 15-mph wind was behind her and the shot went over the middle of the goal by mere inches.
“Mariah doubles up—she’s on our track team, too,” Libero said of her speedster.
The Lady Trojan soccer coach was also proud of the play of senior forward Jordan Clear.
“Jordan always plays with such intensity,” Libero said. “She makes an effort with every game.”
Laney has a 2-1-3 record, while West Brunswick is 1-3-1 overall and 0-3 in the Mideastern 3A/4A Conference.
SARAH SUE INGRAM is interim sports editor of the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email@example.com.