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Tandem Throttles Norfolk Christian
Tandem throttles Norfolk Christian
It took fifteen minutes of polite knocking, but once Tandem put their first goal in the net, the others poured in. In a four minute span the VISAA Division 2 quarterfinal contest between the Badgers and Norfolk Christian went from a scoreless tie to a 3-goal lead. With the duo of Leci Irvin and Bri Carel attacking the outside of the Ambassadors, Tandem cruised through to the semifinals with an 8-0 win despite not playing the last 20 minutes of regulation because of severe weather.
“The girls noticed when they were driving down-field that the defense was leaving at least one side entirely open,” said Badgers coach Brian Williams. “Having Bri and Leci up top, two of the best scorers in the state is just phenomenal. When the first goal went in, I think Norfolk Christian got on their toes just a little bit. After that it was just downhill and the girls played amazing soccer and we couldn’t be happier with it.”
With the defense trying to account for Tandem’s potent duo, the game turned quickly. The flood gates opened for the Badgers in the 15th minute when Irvin looked like she was going to take a fast break in by herself and then split the Norfolk defense with a little English on a pass and hit Carel who knocked it out of mid-air to draw first blood. It took one minute for Irvin to find the back of the net on a similar play, this time with the William and Mary commit burying the shot herself.
“We didn’t want to play down to their level because he have done that at times this year,” Irvin said. “Our catch phrase was ‘zen’ so we tried to calm down and focus and take over instead of playing chaotic and just booting the ball. Our focus was switching around the back on the outside because we heard that was the weakness for them. So we went up the side and then crossed it and let some of our center midfielders hit it in for us. It ended up working really well for us.”
Carel and Irvin notched two more each to finish the first half with their team up 4-0. Carel notched two more and Irvin picked up another while Gillian Gardener diversified the stat sheet with a goal of her own to make it 8-0. But just inside the 60th minute, lightining was seen north of the school and the game was delayed. With the game in the books according to the VISAA rulebook, the initial intent was to finish the game, but it did not take long for officials and Norfolk to just call it a deal.
The two-time defending state champions, Tandem moves on to semifinals and awaits its opponent on Friday in Richmond.
“We’ve got a lot of experience having been to the finals the last three years,” Irvine said. “We definitely know how the process works and I think that’s really going to help us.”