Lady Vipers tie with Vance Charter

May 6—HENDERSON — The Vance County Lady Vipers tied the Vance Charter Knights 1-1 on Senior Night after conceding a second-half goal.

The first goal of the game came off the right boot of freshman Allisson Lira, who has been a real bright spot for this struggling Vipers squad this year. The Vipers' lone goal was assisted by a well-timed pass from Maria Dominguez-Galvez

"She's gonna get better," said Vance County coach Roanna Evans. "She's going to be the key."

After the game, Evans said she wanted to see her girls slow down and make the simple play. She acknowledges how much nerves play a factor in the performance of her young team. When the girls are having fun playing around after practice, Evans said they show off what they're truly capable of, but it doesn't translate to the games.

Moreover, Evans said her girls are in desperate need of some serious film study to "see how the game is played." Last Monday, when their game was canceled, Evans advised her players to go home and watch a professional soccer game. Instead, she said, they would rather run in the hot sun on the pitch.

"They don't watch the game and that's what they're lacking," she said. "I cannot get these girls to watch a game."

According to Vance Charter head coach Johnny Yount, the Knights were playing "kickball" in the first half, unable to move the ball offensively, but they found their feet and generated several opportunities in the second half.

While Yount would have liked to see them convert on at least one of their other opportunities, he was satisfied with the draw.

"That's a great group of student-athletes," he said. "I'm just glad to be a part of it."

The Lady Knights were without their best player, Katherine Suther, whose presence in the midfield was definitely missed. Suther suffered an ankle injury a few games ago, and the Knights are giving her some "much-needed" rest toward the end of the season.

"You can get tired playing as a team defensively," said Yount. "But when you play in the attacking third, that adrenaline keeps pumping and you can kinda quiet the 'I want to quit right now.' "

The Vipers did a good job of defending their goal in the second half — that was until a miscue from Lira. The freshman fumbled the ball just outside of her own box giving Vance Charter a free one-on-one with the goalkeeper, negating her heroics in the first half.

Vance Charter also had several shots bounce dangerously close to the net, with one attempt ringing the crossbar and another header sailing just high to collide with the football goalpost.

Lira had a chance to bounce back from her earlier error with a free kick opportunity. But from well outside the box she left it way short for an easy bouncing save by the goalkeeper. The Vipers were still struggling with shot placement, sending the ball straight at the keeper in their limited scoring opportunities in the second half.

Evans said she wants to see her girls improve in the fundamental areas of the game as well as their decision-making. In a one-on-four counterattack, Lira kicked the ball meekly across midfield for an inexcusable turnover.

With the season winding down and the lack of wins under their belts (4-14-1), the Vipers can only look to next year for answers. Evans said they will begin off-season training in June, where they will be "running under the hot sun."

For now, the Vipers travel to Southern Durham to play the Spartans, before returning to Vance County for their final home game on Tuesday against Oxford Prep.

As for Vance Charter, the draw brings them to 4-7-2. They will look to rebound against Oxford Prep on Monday, before facing Eno River at home on Wednesday for their final game of the season.

STATSMaria Dominguez-Galvez (Sr.) — 1 assist

Allisson Lira (Fr.) — 1 goal

Sarah Ranes (Jr.) — 1 assist

Annie Drake (So.) — 1 goal