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Rose soccer takes ECC title

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J.H. Rose's Shelby Jones (30) battles with New Bern's Madelyn Gatchel (11) during their match last season at Rose. (File/The Daily Reflector)

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Thursday’s winner-take-all girls’ soccer match at times favored both New Bern’s and J.H. Rose’s hopes of winning the Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A Conference.

The host Rampants dominated the final 20 minutes, getting the game-winning goal from Kris Houston with exactly 20:00 remaining and playing stout defense the rest of the way in a 2-1 victory for the ECC title. New Bern scored late in the first half, but goals after halftime by Houston and Shelby Jones made the difference for the hosts.

The comeback victory gave JHR (13-5-1, 11-1) its first outright conference championship in 23 years and momentum for the 4-A state playoffs. It also avenged a 4-0 loss at NB (12-6-2, 9-2-1) on April 4, which ended up being the Rampants’ only league defeat.

“We knew it was going to be crazy, but this means a lot,” JHR coach Tim Dameron said. “(The seniors) laid the foundation for everything you see tonight. It’s been four years in the making.”

Houston’s winner was set up by a perfect pass from Aeryn Parker into the box. They are both juniors.

It came after a corner kick and some jostling for position, and Parker made a quick touch to push the ball over to Houston. She lofted a shot into the top corner of the net on another quick touch for the winning tally.

Houston also made a great defensive play to preserve the victory, booting the ball away from the mouth of a nearly empty Rampant goal with less than 5 minutes to play. That was the Bears’ only real scoring threat after JHR took the 2-1 edge.

“We had the stamina and we didn’t have to sub a lot,” Dameron said of the final 20 minutes. “We knew we were going to play well and they just kept getting it and getting it. There is no quit with these girls.”

Meghan Guter netted NB’s lone goal on a free kick with 4:48 until halftime.

The tying score by Jones came in the first few minutes of the second half. It was the 100th goal of the senior’s career.

“It doesn’t get much better than that (for Jones) in a championship game,” Dameron said. “I felt once we got that first one, we knew another one was going to happen eventually. They just kept pushing until we got it.”

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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