Natalie Johnson had a breakaway opportunity. No one was in her way except for the opposing goalkeeper.
With less than five minutes remaining, and the Rams trailing by a goal, the junior blasted a shot that was stopped by White Oak’s Alexis Jones.
The Rams’ offense failed to score in a 1-0 loss to defending 3A state champion White Oak on Tuesday in Havelock.
“Natalie was on a fast break, and that’s the person you want on a fast break,” said Havelock coach Jeff Harris. “She had a great opportunity.”
White Oak knocked in its lone goal on a fast break by Ericca Lenhardt with two minutes remaining in the first half.
The Vikings had a golden opportunity to score with 10 minutes remaining, but Havelock goalie Caitlin Annunziata made a leaping save to push the ball out of the goal.
Lauren Seegel, Dominique Martinez and Alexis Delacruz all had shots on goal for the Rams over the final 40 minutes.
White Oak took nine shots on goal and two corner kicks. Havelock (10-6, 5-4 Coastal) had eight shots on goal and three corner kicks.
Harris said his team must rely on passing in order to win.
“This is a team, we have very good players that are smart and have phenomenal footwork,” Harris said. “We don’t have the speed to blow past people.
“We have to finesse past people. More than half the goals we’ve gotten were off an assist.”
While the offense couldn’t capitalize, the defense kept Havelock close. Aliyah Cruz made two saves to protect first-half goalkeeper Amanda Alexander. Janae Mays, Emily Spink and Kaitlyn Tripp were strong in the back.
Alexander and Annunziata combined for five saves.
“The defense played solid. All of them played their heart out,” Harris said. “White Oak tried to play us over top, and they had us with speed and size, and the defense never backed down from them. They were tough.”
The Rams are scheduled to host Washington on Thursday.
“When the girls play their soccer, they are a fantastic team,” Harris said. “This is one they have to put in their memory banks and say ‘we didn’t do what we were supposed to do, so we ended up on the short end.’
“Our goal is to make it to the playoffs and be playing our best soccer when we get to the playoffs. That’s what we want to do.”