Headed in right direction

Apr. 03, 2014 @ 12:15 AM

Northern Vance hadn’t found the net since March 13 entering its 3-A Big Eight Conference contest Wednesday against Southern Durham. The winless Vikings had been shut out five consecutive times and in their previous two matches, suffered a pair of 9-0 mercy-rule defeats to league and state power Cardinal Gibbons.

But Hannah Burgess snapped the scoring drought in the 62nd minute against Southern Durham and Northern held on 1-0 for its first win of the season. The Vikings (1-6-2, 1-5-0 Big Eight) also have two non-conference draws with Granville Central.

“Momentum for the next game,” said Northern goalkeeper Jackie Miller. “We can win games. We just have to work on coming together as a team.”

Miller, who earned all-conference honors in basketball, is in her first season with the Vikings’ soccer team. The sophomore came up with six saves against the Spartans including the would-be equalizer in the 69th minute.

A Southern Durham player had a breakaway following a long outlet pass from the fill-in goalie, moments after she replaced the injured starter. But Miller snatched the ball after the Spartan attacker took too long of a touch approaching the 18-yard box.

“I think everybody did an awesome job,” said Northern head coach Razvan Tegean. “Jackie had some good saves, gave a good effort — right place, right time. Hannah has been working hard for us the entire season.”

Burgess, a junior sweeper, is given by Tegean the freedom to move forward in the attack. That’s what happened on the go-ahead goal as she collected a pass from freshman Yarelic Tamayo. It wasn’t struck with blazing pace, but Burgess’ lofting shot was too tall for the Southern Durham keeper and found the back netting. 

“I think it’s huge,” Tegean said of the win. “I think the teams were very close to each other. But sometimes these are hard games.”

Northern has another tough game on Monday against Chapel Hill, currently the third-ranked team in 3-A, a spot behind Gibbons.

For Tegean, the competitive matches like Wednesday’s prove to be the most beneficial for the inexperienced Vikings.

“I think we have more to gain out of it,” said the Northern coach. “Am I improving? Am I doing something? Am I competitive enough with someone on my level?”

Added Tegean: “It’s something where it can definitely boost their energy, passion, their willingness to do some work.”

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.