Prep Soccer: Eagles rally to beat Dragons, 2-1
The clock could not wind down fast enough for East Davidson soccer coach Paul McIntire.
“We were counting down and counting down,” he said.
Down a goal with a little more than 20 minutes to play, the Golden Eagles scored twice, overtaking West Davidson and holding on in the final moments for a crucial 2-1 Central Carolina Conference victory.
Still third in the league standings at 7-2-1 overall, EDHS can move up to second place if Salisbury can knock off the 7-1-1 Green Dragons today. That would give the Eagles a home game in the first round of the playoffs.
“We really needed this one,” said McIntire. “If Salisbury can beat them then we get back into second place. I hate it when other people are deciding our future, but it is what it is. This win was huge for these girls and gets us ready for the playoffs.”
Entering the second half, the scoreboard at Brown Middle School still read 0-0. West changed that 10 minutes in, only after saving a sure goal by the Eagles.
In the 46th minute, Kali Stinson sent in a corner kick that Jessica Ferguson got a body on. It was headed for the back of the net, but the West defender stuck to her post and deflected it away.
It set up the go-ahead goal for the Green Dragons moments later. Ragan Dalton slipped the ball to Chloe Newsome on an angle to set up a one-on-one encounter with East goalie Taylor Bell. Waiting until the right time to fire, Newsome tucked the ball inside the post to put the Dragons ahead 1-0.
A great defensive team, West figured to be in good shape in the final 29 minutes. But East was a determined team that wanted to be on the good side of a one-goal game for a change.
They took the first step with 21 minutes left. Stinson lined up another corner kick and sent it in low to the near post. Madi Hallman rushed in to get her foot on it perfectly. The ball rocketed into the net and equalized the game.
“I told the girls this is going to be a one-goal differential game – it is either going to be 1-0 or 2-1 but that's it. It is not going to be a high scoring game. We need to make sure at the end we need to have it on our side.”
With 6:30 remaining on the clock, East put themselves in position for the win. Ferguson drilled a shot that deflected off West defender Kate Cogar. The ball changed directions and spun into the goal before goalie Jessica James could reach it.
West frantically attempted to find a tying goal but could not get it done in the remaining minutes.
“I am just glad for a close game where we were actually victorious,” said McIntire. “Every close game we've had thus far we have been the lesser. It is good to see the girls are fighting all the way to the end. They always have, but we just could not ever get that other goal. But we were able to find it.”
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.