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Central Off To A Great Start
WILSON -- Since this is his first season as Nash Central High School’s girls soccer coach, Ryan Cherlinczuk-Ruiz can’t provide an effective gauge of how improved the Lady Bulldogs are this spring.

But the numbers don’t line,  and Central is off to its best start n school history with a 6-0-2 mark through eight contests.

Central added to its victory list last Friday night on one of the grandest stages of all -- The Brittany For The Girls Soccer Showcase at Gillette Park in Wilson.

The Lady Bulldogs held off a late South Brunswick threat to earn a 3-2 decision.

Nash Central’s Sportsmanship Award winner was Brianna Eley, who was active throughout the matchup.

NC now has six conquests to go with ties versus Northern Vance and Tarboro.

In the NVHS event, Central’s Scarlett Salter helped her club earn a tie with a goal in the closing minute of action.

Salter, a senior, is part of a talented midfield that also includes upperclassmen Brooke Hendricks and Logan Rollins, who has gained a reputation for her exceptional crossing ability.

Another key midfielder is freshman Rebecca Beal. Ruiz thinks Beal has the opportunity to be a big-time impact player in the Big East Conference.

“The best thing about this team is that the players are very coachable,’’ said Ruiz, who guided the NCHS boys squad last fall. “When I came in, the first thing I wanted to do was to settle any attitude problems right out of the gate. That way, we didn’t have to deal with any of those issues down the road.

“Our players communicate well and pass well. They play well as a unit as opposed to being individuals.

“We take a lot of shots, but we are missing a lot of them right now. But we are getting better.’’

Nash Central has had difficulty competing against the Big East girls soccer hierarchy through the years, but Ruiz thinks the Lady Bulldogs have the opportunity to be in the mix for the berth in the Class 3-A State Playoffs this season.

“Any step up would be great for us,’’ Ruiz said. “I would like to see us be able to go toe-to-toe with the other Nash County schools, and also be able to play with the Wilson County schools.’’

Ruiz and Company will begin the Big East Conference schedule next Monday with a road game against the highly touted Rocky Mount Lady Gryphons on the brand-new RMHS campus.

Pictured (Above): IT’S A FOOTRACE. Nash Central’s Brianna Eley (left) tries to chase down a loose ball last Friday night against South Brunswick at The Brittany For The Girls Soccer Showcase, which was held at Gillette Park in Wilson. Nash Central won the event by a 3-2 margin, and Eley was saluted as the winner of the Brittany Willis Sportsmanship Award. (Graphic photos by Geoff Neville)

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