Rams suffer scoring dearth

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

ROSWELL -- Grayson girls soccer coach Terry Klinect summed up his team's first-round Class AAAAA state playoff game against Roswell best.

"We just couldn't find a goal," Klinect said.

Try as they might, the No. 9 state-ranked Rams' search came up empty, while the one the host Hornets found -- the one by Abby Weinstein late in the first half -- was just enough for a 1-0 victory Tuesday night at Ray Manus Stadium.

It was enough to send Roswell (9-5) into the second round at Collins Hill next Tuesday, while Grayson's season came to an end at 12-6-1.

"They played hard, and that's all you can ask," Klinect said of his team. "Roswell's a good team. (To lose) 1-0 is tough. The second half, we had our opportunities."

There weren't many scoring opportunities in the first half, but Roswell cashed in on one in the latter half of the opening frame.

Defender Hannah Larson sent a pass from the right wing through the penalty area to the left side, where Weinstein was able to corral it.

The midfielder then made a move around a Grayson defender and slipped a shot across the goal mouth and inside the near post for her first goal of the season to give the Hornets a 1-0 lead with 12:44 left in the half.

"Abby Weinstein has a phenomenal natural left foot," Roswell coach Lindsay Boyd said. "She's constantly assisting. She's never the one to take the shot. So it was a big goal for her."

Grayson's best chance came just under five minutes later in the 33rd minute, when Mary Vernetti ran down a long ball down the left wing.

The senior then made a stop-and-go move just before the end line to get around a Roswell defender, dribbled into the penalty area and sent a hard shot just inside the near post.

But goalkeeper Kendall Carney made the boot save to keep the Rams off the scoreboard.

That trend continued when Roswell brought in its other goalkeeper, Alex Ryan, in the second half, though it wasn't because of a lack of effort from Grayson, especially in the final 20 minutes.

And it was veterans like Vernetti and Shayna Rogers who produced some of the most dangerous scoring chances for the Rams.

Rogers had four shots towards goal in the final 15 minutes, including a steal and turnaround shot inside of 30 yards in the 66th minute and a free kick from 40 yards away in the 77th minute, though both sailed wide of the near post.

Meanwhile, Vernetti tried another stop-and-go move on the left wing to create a shot from the left wing in the 76th minute and actually beat Ryan, but the ball slipped across the goal mouth and eventually went over the end line.

Then in the 78th minute, Ashley Griffin had perhaps the best chance for the Rams by sending a high lob over the Roswell defense and Ryan, but the shot lofted just over the crossbar, leaving the Hornets' lead intact.

"I think we really outplayed them in the second half," Klinect said. "We just couldn't put it in the back of the net. This team has been working hard all year. I'm proud of them."