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Gant, Becker score twice in North County shutout

BONNE TERRE –  A constant drenching rain failed to prevent distant opponents North County and Kelly from facing off on Thursday, and the Lady Raiders did not hesitate to attack on their familiar turf field.

Cydney Revelle notched the first North County goal less than five minutes into the action off an assist by Emma Becker. Ella Gant and Becker split the next four tallies evenly after halftime to seal a 5-0 victory.

Gant smacked a shot off the crossbar for the second time from about 26 yards out with 28:50 to play in the game, but found the mark from nearly the same spot less than a minute later by sending a ball over the head of goalkeeper Annastasia Harlow for a 2-0 lead.

Gant increased the edge to 3-0 for North County (3-2) by speeding down the middle of the field and splitting a pair of defenders before drilling a shot from about 15 yards away with 14:45 remaining.

The Lady Raiders maintained an aggressive offense, and continued to make short, smart passes to limit turnovers on the wet surface.

Becker posted her first goal by tipping in a high-bouncing pass that got past the back row of defenders with four minutes on the clock.

Less than 20 seconds later, she immediately regained possession at midfield, and sprinted past the entire resistance to cap the outcome.

North County attempted 13 shots in each half for 26 overall, and held Kelly to just one chance that traveled far left of the goal during the first stanza.

Harlow recorded seven saves for the Lady Hawks, and often pursued the ball either to stop runs or disrupt crowded crosses into the box.

The Lady Raiders dominated possession from the beginning, and established an assertive attack by pushing the ball ahead with patient passing. Gant was exceptional at weaving through defenders in the middle, and worked to get her teammates open near the goal.

Julia Christopher frequently raced along the home sideline in attempt to create open looks at the goal for the Lady Raiders during the first half, but her shots often sailed wide of the target.

Kelly usually had its offense interrupted by lengthy passes that would skip along the slick turf and out of bounds. Senior Mallory Urhahn was often at the head of possible attacks that did not materialize.

North County, which has already shown significant progress after winning one match last year, will travel to play Sullivan next Wednesday.

North County forward Emma Becker (left) takes a shot at the goal during the first half against Kelly on Thursday.

North County forward Emma Becker (left) takes a shot at the goal during the first half against Kelly on Thursday.

North County midfielder Ella Gant (22) splits a pair of Kelly defenders during an attack in the first half on Thursday.

North County midfielder Ella Gant (22) splits a pair of Kelly defenders during an attack in the first half on Thursday.

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