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Lady Colts deliver on better performance

Mar. 25—HENDERSON — With high levels of talent comes high standards, which are followed by high expectations. The defending 1A State Champions Crossroads Christian Colts are expected to secure another spot in the state finals this year, but failed to live up to their level of play in a loss last week against St. Thomas More.

After that loss, junior defender Abby Taylor promised a better performance against their arch-nemesis Cape Fear Eagles — Taylor and her team delivered on Friday with a 5-0 shutout against the Eagles in the rain.

At halftime, they were up 4-0 and firmly in the driver's seat against their conference rival. A play made by Crossroads senior goalkeeper and captain Haley Edwards set the tone for the game in the first half. Sprinting to the top of the box on a dangerous ball, Edwards flipped an Eagles striker as she dove to secure possession and the save for the Colts.

Crossroads head coach Anthony Bennett hit the shuffle button on the lineup after Monday's loss to St. Thomas More, starting an entirely different midfield in Friday's outing. In the second period, Taylor was switched to midfield to better utilize her skill set. Threatening to cut into the deficit, Cape Fear senior and basketball standout Ella John Dupree sent a blistering shot screaming off the top of the crossbar.

Crossroads was playing through their basketball duo of juniors Taylor and Elyssa Phillips, with freshman Reagan Hedgepeth moved up to attack on the wing. Despite the home baseball game between Crossroads and Cape Fear being canceled, the rain did not deter the girls from duking it out on the pitch as Phillips was taken out of the game after receiving a yellow card to avoid further discipline after another infraction.

"I enjoy playing in the rain, everybody deals with it," said John Dupree, who is one of the captains of her team. "It comes from a place of grit — it gives me more adrenaline."

The Colts continued to get scoring chances off crosses into the box from the left winger Leanna Wimsatt, but did not capitalize on them for most of the second half. A pretty give-and-go gave Wimsatt another chance at it, but a solid save from the Eagles' goalie nullified the opportunity.

Finally, a cross from Wimsatt from deep in the box found Taylor on the goal line, who redirected the pass off her stomach for the score to put the Colts up 5-0.

The big win is just the first step towards correcting course after an unexpected loss early in the season. The Colts have a long way to a championship repeat and still need to focus on controlling the controllable and taking it one step at a time.

Now at 3-1 on the year, the Colts are second in the Mid-Carolina Conference behind Cresset Academy with plenty of soccer left in this young season.

STATSElyssa Phillips (Jr.) — 1 GOAL, 4 SHOTS ON GOAL, 2 AST, 4 STL

Abby Taylor (Jr.) — 2 GOALS, 5 STL

Leanna Wimsatt (So.) — 5 SOG, 1 AST

Anderson Boyd (So.) — 2 GOALS, 2 AST