Vance County loses 9-0 to battle-tested Jags

Mar. 27—CARRBORO — On Monday, the Vance County girls' soccer team faced its toughest battle yet: an in-conference matchup on the road against Carrboro.

Vance County was shutout 9-0 and the game was called at halftime. But the big deficit on the scoreboard was not enough to damper the Vipers' attitude as players were still upbeat and jovial after the game.

"I can't say we're happy, but we definitely don't feel as bad as the other games," said head coach Roanna Evans. "Although they didn't play their best game, they held out."

The Vipers had their work cut out for them against this battle-tested conference adversary. The Jaguars were 6-2 entering this meeting with Vance County with their only two losses coming at the hands of Chapel Hill and East Chapel Hill.

According to sophomore backer Selena Banda, the loss did not come as a surprise to the Vipers, who suffered the same fate at the hands of the Jaguars last season.

Still working out the kinks, the Vipers look to finish the year stronger than they started, now sitting at 2-8 and one spot above Webb in the last place of the conference. A young team, Vance County is making strides in the right direction with head coach Evans at the helm. Finishing last year as No. 5 in the conference with a 5-13 record, the Vipers are fairing much better against their opponents this season.

Carrboro has an established soccer program and if Vance County can retain its players and continue on this path, the games will become even more competitive.

"We knew going into it we have a strong program," said Carrboro head coach Jared Drexler. "We wanted to stick to our style of soccer."

Possession, creating chances, and finishing were the recipe for success for this Carrboro team, passing with a "clinical" level of precision. Meanwhile, the Vipers were not as thoughtful with their passes, limiting their offensive abilities.

Vance County conceded goals early and often as the Jags pushed the ball around the field. Halfway through the first period, the Vipers found themselves in a 7-0 hole trying to hold on for another 16 minutes to get saved by the bell.

After letting in their eighth goal, the Vipers kept the Jaguars scoreless for nearly 10 minutes while trying to avoid the mercy rule. However, a patient attack from Carrboro crescendoed when a shot on goal led to an easy rebound opportunity for a Jaguars striker. The 9-0 goal was the straw that broke the camel's back and despite encouragement from Vance County's defenders, the Vipers limped into the break with one of their biggest losses of the year.

"We didn't play much offense, to be honest," said Evans.

The Vipers felt the significant absence of their top midfielder, freshman Niyearia Crudup. "Speedy" — as her teammates and coach call her — is a huge part of their team's success, mitigating the damage of other team's ball handlers and creating chances of her own through the transition of defense to offense in center field. Obviously, her quickness was desperately needed in their match against Carrboro.

"We need to fix our fitness," said Evans. "I don't know what happened today, but they look very tired."

The Vipers will have plenty of time to rest up before playing again on April 8 against Southern Durham at home. As for the Jaguars, they parlayed this win into another against Franklin Academy, before facing off against the Woods Charter Wolves in Carrboro on April 10.