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Vipers lose a rainy game to Louisburg

Mar. 6—HENDERSON — Vance County is now 0-3 to start the year after Tuesday's 4-2 unraveling against Louisburg.

The Vipers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period, before allowing four unanswered goals from the Warriors as the game slipped away.

"We had it," said head coach Roanna Evans.

"Right before halftime, they scored back and we were shaking," she said. "They're not used to the wetness, it's killing us."

The Vipers jogged off the field tied 1-1 at halftime as they scurried to find some shelter from the rain.

Less than 45 seconds into the second half, the Vipers conceded another goal and were now behind. A few minutes later, a Louisburg shot on goal was stopped by the Vance County keeper, but the Vance County goalie dropped it and the ball dribbled into the net.

Down 3-1, with under 30 minutes to play, the Vipers needed to make something happen if they hoped to mount a comeback. They managed to clear another counter-attack out of danger but were struggling to mark up defensively and string together a series of touches on offense.

In the 53rd minute, Louisburg junior Ana Vega Contreras curled in a beauty of a corner kick from the right flag to the back left side of the net, putting the ball out of reach of the keeper and the game out of reach for the Vipers 4-1.

Looking ahead

"Try to fix what we need to fix, and be ready for our next game," said Evans of the game plan going forward.

According to their coach, since the Vipers started, they have had to endure cold, wet weather — which has not worked in their favor. Evans said she walked onto the field after the game and nearly lost her balance.

Vance County would have played in the rain again Wednesday against Hillside but the game was called off. The Vipers hope for a sunnier start to their Thursday afternoon game on the road against the Hornets in Durham.

Senior forward No. 11 Vanesa Labra Zuniga scored both of Vance County's goals against Louisburg, with her second coming off a breakaway, 1-on-1 opportunity with the keeper where she laid a ground ball right past the last wall of defense.

What did her coach see from her?

"Beauty. She did what I wanted her to do: just keep going," said Evans. "Even when she got shoved over, keep going, keep going, keep going — that's all I ask them to do. You're going to mess up, it's wet — get up and keep going. That's all she did, and she scored two goals."

Physical play

The game against the Warriors was a physical one. Players fought shoulder-to-shoulder for 50/50 balls as they battled for position.

"That's soccer," said Evans. "It's a contact sport."

At one point, a Vipers midfielder was slide-tackled from behind by a Warriors defender (pictured) but no penalty was awarded — with the referee explaining his decision with the sideline in real-time as he kept his eyes on the ball in play. Evans voiced her disappointment with the no-call after the game, noting that the play was "unnecessary."

Selena Banda

The long sophomore has potential as a young defender for the Vipers. Evans liked the defense shown by Banda against the Warriors but wants to see some bigger boots from her second-year right back in order to dispel dangerous situations from their opponents.

"I just need her to get the ball out more," said Evans. "She always hustles hard — but when she gets that win we just need better clears."