Lady Crusaders roll to CCC semis
Eighth-grader Madison Bolen struck for four goals and Grace Christian cruised through its Senior Day and the quarterfinals of the Carolina Christian Conference Tournament Tuesday evening with an 8-0 win over Neuse Christian.
Torie Boyte got the Lady Crusaders off to the perfect start, as she scored in the third and seventh minutes. Kaycee Murr and Charity McVay scored a goal each.
Murr and Lady Crusader goalkeeper Sarah Beard are the only seniors on the Lady Crusader squad. Murr, usually anchoring the center of the Grace Christian back line, took and converted a penalty kick 10 minutes into the second half putting the Lady Crusaders up 6-0 at that point.
Beard, even with the lopsided Crusader rout, had a busy day making 10 saves. She tallied her fifth shutout of the season, setting a new Lady Crusader program record for shutouts in a season.
Grace Christian (10-8-2) effectively decided the match and their spot into Thursday night's CCC semifinals in the first 11 minutes.
The Lady Crusaders might not have dominated possession as much as head coach Chris Pratt would have liked, but they struck in a hurry whenever they moved in on the Neuse penalty box.
Boyte, a freshman, raced with the dribble down the sideline and into the left side of the box before hitting a hard drive low by the Neuse keeper for a 1-0 Grace lead 2:45 into the match.
The next Boyte goal started more than 100 yards away from the Lady Lion goal. Off a Neuse corner kick, the Lady Crusaders countered in a flash with Bolen racing the ball out of the defensive end and leading Boyte with a long pass, which Boyte put away with a first-touch, right-footed shot.
Four minutes later, in the 11th minute, a sustained Lady Crusader attack finished with Bridgette Angeles crossing the ball from the left flank into the Neuse box and Bolen striking from near the penalty spot to inside the base of the right post making it 3-0.
Bolen made it 4-0 in the 32nd minute and that was the Lady Crusader lead at halftime.
Bolen added goals in the 45th and 66th minutes. Charity McVay scored in the 75th minute making it 8-0 Grace. The Lady Crusaders scored on three of their five shots on goal, plus the Murr penalty kick, in the second half.
While the result was never threatened, Beard and the Lady Crusader defense dealt with 10 Neuse Christian corner kicks and Beard had to come up with diving saves on a couple of occasions and quick-reaction saves on Neuse shots from close range on a couple more chances.
The Lady Crusaders, seeded third in the CCC tourney, will face No. 2 Community Christian (9-4, 8-1) in the semifinals at Wayne Christian. The tournament final is set for Friday at 7 p.m. at Wayne Christian.
Community Christian advanced with a 9-0 win over Northwood Temple on Tuesday. The Lady Cyclones beat Grace Christian 2-1, as the Lady Crusaders yielded an own goal and a penalty kick, on March 26 in Wilson.