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Harrells downs Patriots

Mar. 6—Under cloudy skies the Lady Crusaders hosted the Arendell Parrott Patriots on the pitch. After running ahead, the Patriots brought it within one but a clutch performance from Harrells slammed the door, garnering their first win of the season, 5-3.

Despite the chilly conditions, the Lady Crusaders were red hot in the early minutes of the contest. The Patriots were helpless to do anything as Harrells steam rolled them, slotting three goals in quick succession. Arendell fought for control but couldn't fend off the Crusaders as they had kept them contained on their side for a majority of the match.

As the game wore on, things got testy with the Patriots playing a physical game. Plenty of players had eaten dirt from the strong bumps from the opposing side. In desperation, Arendell defended their goalie rabidly with Chloe Bowles taking the hit in the box. She was sent to the ground as the keeper dove for the ball while two other players joined in on the collision. Bowles dusted off her uniform and took to the line for a penalty kick. The Crusaders head coach was given a yellow card after a heated argument with the referees over allowing the play to even get to that point as she championed her player's safety.

Bowles took the shot and it was blocked, but she quickly rushed over for another chance. She put the ball in the net after the keeper struggled to control the rebound, making it a 4-0 game. With a minute and a half left in the first, the Patriots rallied hard and shocked the Crusaders as they bum rushed them into a corner. Suddenly, it was Harrells who couldn't escape their zone and the Patriots capitalized. In a rapid fire response, Arendell put up two goals with 16 seconds to spare. Harrells didn't have time to respond and the whistle was blown. The Crusaders held a two point lead entering the break, 4-2.

The Patriots came out firing, hyped up from the closing minute rally that earned them two goals. Harrells couldn't keep them in check like they had before and Arendell was persistently pushing back. After five minutes of back and forth, the Patriots would strike and close the gap to one after a hard fought run to the net. The Crusader backline couldn't shut them down and they scored making it, 4-3.

From here it was anyone's game with both teams eluding some close calls as they stiffened up the defense on both sides. The Crusaders were able to stifle Arendell's play once they realized they had been doing roughly the same play that earned them three. Harrells locked down the middle and challenged the wings, effectively ending their offensive run.

Harrells took charge and fought off Arendell on the pitch, forcing them back into a corner once again. With 20 minutes on the clock, the Crusaders methodically pushed the ball upfield before settling in a couple of feet from the corner. They threw in the ball and a horde of kelly green rushed the box. The opposing keeper fended them over for a moment but the pressure was too great and the Crusaders sent in the final goal of the match.

The Patriots weren't able to come close to the success they had in the early goings of the match and Harrells stuck the landing, sending their rivals home with the loss, 5-3.

The Lady Crusaders are now 1-1 after the win and will be looking to add more to the win column this week as they take on the North Brunswick Scorpions on Thursday March 7. Game time is slated for 6 p.m.

Reach Anthony McConnaughey at amcconnaughey@clintonnc.com, X @SampsonSports or on the Sampson Independent Facebook page