CCC Soccer: Hornets tally late goal to defeat Eagles
All East Davidson had to do was secure half a point for possession of the Central Carolina Conference’s second place and a first round playoff match at home. They were positioned just right until a slip-up in the final two minutes.
Salisbury midfielder Kate Grant got control deep in Golden Eagle territory and cashed in, driving a low shot off the fingertips of diving goalkeeper Taylor Bell that trickled in for a 3-2 lead. It would stand over the final minute, putting a damper on Senior Night festivities Tuesday at Brown Middle School.
“We just had some duties that slipped through the cracks and we were not able to clear the ball properly,” said EDHS coach Paul McIntire. “You leave a team like that more than one opportunity, they are going to bury it.”
It was the first time the Hornets had led since just before the first half ended.
In the opening half, SHS took a 1-0 lead on a well-timed passing play that involved Grant. She pushed the ball up the middle, slipping a pass through the defense to forward Kristel Rodriguez. Bell slipped off her line in an attempt to cut it off, but Rodriguez changed direction and stared down an empty net. Two East defenders were able to get in front of the goal just in time, but upon trying to clear the ball the two ran into each other and the ball deflected into the net.
East drew even just before the halftime break. Taylor McPhatter never gave up on the play, barely beating Salisbury goalie Kaytee Leonguerrero to the ball. The two made contact and the momentum of McPhatter carried the ball across the line.
There were plenty of other chances for the Golden Eagles that could have made a difference. A penalty kick hit the crossbar, and two more shots hit the posts.
“We hit the right side, we hit the crossbar and we hit the left side,” said McIntire. “We hit every single part of the goal.”
East grabbed the lead four minutes into the second half. Madi Hallman knocked in a rebound off of her own shot.
Within minutes, Salisbury pulled even again. Kathryn Rusher chipped a pass over the defense that bounced once before Rodriguez settled it and fired to the left side for a score.
As the minutes ticked by the Eagles were in the exact position they needed to be in to grab a postseason home game. The Hornets prolonged the situation with the late goal that set up a seeding game that was played Thursday at a neutral site.
“If we had pulled a tie then we would have won the second seed,” said McIntire. “We just ran out of gas and I have never seen my girls fall flat like this.”
Note: East won the seeding game 2-1 and will be at home next week when the 2-A state playoffs begin.