High School Soccer: Hornets survive East rally
East Davidson was a clank and tip away Monday from forcing overtime with Salisbury in a heated Central Carolina Conference showdown.
Instead, the Hornets survived another close battle with the Golden Eagles and left town in a hurry with a 3-2 win at the Brown Middle School soccer pitch.
In a frenetic finish, Madi Hallman had her shot rattle off the post and the rebound attempt by Jessica Ferguson was barely tipped out of harm's way by Hornet goalkeeper Juliana Anderson. A couple of East corner kicks ensued, but the ball was safely cleared each time as the final whistle blew.
“One off the post, one off another player and then the tips of the fingers,” said EDHS head coach Paul McIntire. “Just one after another. What can you do? That is heartbreaking but that is soccer.”
To even be in position to possibly force overtime was a battle in itself. The Eagles spotted the league leaders with a 3-goal lead with halftime nearing. Kate Grant scored two of them and Ceci Cardelle added another off a corner kick from Grant.
Needing something positive to build on entering intermission, Hallman was able to put East on the board and cut the deficit down to 3-1.
That small spark lit a fire under the Golden Eagles and they came out hungry after the break.
Four minutes into the second half, the lead was down to a single goal on a set piece by East. Kali Stinson drove a corner kick low across the box that was knocked down at the foot of Lori Morgan. The senior quickly unleashed a shot that tucked inside the post, making it a 3-2 game with 36 minutes still to go.
East (8-4-1) continued to apply pressure, keeping the ball on their end of the field for much of the next 15 minutes of action. Though nothing was finding the back of the net, McIntire applauded the increased intensity.
“They wanted it and figured out that we have to really play hard and it is not going to be given to us,” he said. “They were busting their tails and that is all you can expect.”
With six minutes left the Hornets were granted a penalty kick on a foul just inside the box. A goal would just about wrap up the game for Salisbury. The only person that could keep that from happening was goalie Taylor Bell. Standing on her line, Bell came up with a big save of Cardelle's free kick, keeping hopes alive.
East made one last push with the flurry of action in front of the Salisbury cage. With a little help from the post and a fingertip save by Anderson, the Hornets (10-1-1) were able to keep a perfect 5-0 CCC record while the Golden Eagles fell further off the pace at 3-2-1.
“We had the ball inside their 18 a lot, but when you do not finish it does not matter,” said McIntire. “We just came up short and it was a good game.”
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.