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Laramie County Prevails; Plays for Semifinals Today
November 13, 2012 - Lower-seeded Louisburg College played Laramie County Community College even for a good part of Tuesday's second game on the second day of the NJCAA Division I Women's Soccer National Championship Tournament at Melbourne Central Catholic but in the end Laramie squeaked by, 3-2.
The higher-seeded team prevailed through the tournament's first six games but Louisburg did score first marking the first time a lower seed held a lead and only the second time overall that a lower seed scored.
Freshman and leading scorer Jessica Scales scored for Louisburg 16 minutes and 6 seconds into the game on an assist from sophomore Nicole Casto and the Hurricanes held the advantage until the final 1:34. That's when Laramie sophomore Deysla Reyes-Delgado headed in an assist from sophomore Zahimara Fantauzzi for a 1-1 tie.
Laramie then found its stride midway through the second half when freshman Victoria Arenas found the net with 25:11 to play. Classmate Francesca Ali then scored at the 22:47 mark to give the Golden Eagles a 3-1 lead.
Freshman Taylor Hockley assisted on Ali's goal.
But Louisburg wasn't done as freshman Riley O'Connell scored unassisted with 3:18 to play to draw the Hurricanes to within 3-2.
Laramie, which improved to 14-2, plays second-seeded Paradise Valley at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday for a spot in Friday's semifinals. Louisburg, which finished at 13-7, was eliminated.
Laramie head coach Jim Gardner said Louisburg's style of play frustrated his team.
"That team plays way different than teams we play," he said. "We haven't played anybody that put nine behind the ball. That's difficult. They had it nailed. We were trying to go through the middle. We were trying to hit things on the outside. We make one mistake and then it's tough.
"We come to the second half, he (Louisburg coach Andy Stokes) is looking for a shootout, then they have a couple chances. I was breathing pretty hard there for a while."
Arenas' goal was big for Laramie, breaking the tie.
"I was playing the wing and another girl came in and they pushed me up and right after that I scored," she said. "I don't want to call it lucky but it kind of was. I cut the people and I just shot like I usually do and it went in.
"We have really good midfielders and we're so used to playing through the middle but they pack it all. We had to find a way to go through the outsides and then through the middle to throw them off a little."
As for Wednesday's game Gardner said: "Now I think we can play the way we normally do."
For his part Stokes took the long view.
"We came in as underdogs, we've done the college proud," he said. "We're going against community colleges. We're a residential, private junior college. It's good for the school. It's good for the girls."