Carrboro three-peats as 2A girls soccer champs
Posted May 27
Updated May 28
Raleigh, N.C. — For the third straight season, Carrboro's girls soccer team is the 2A state champion. The top-seeded Jaguars defeated West Stokes 3-0 in the state championship game on Saturday evening.
The win gives Carrboro its third straight 2A state championship in girls soccer.
"It's just as special as the first two. They're all special," said Carrboro coach Jared Drexler. "This year it was a different team and we overcame some challenges, so they're all special."
Carrboro had to survive a couple scares from West Stokes. Two shots early in the first half nearly found the goal, but keeper Grace Nanney was there for the saves.
"We knew that they were dangerous hitting the long ball, counterattacking. They almost caught us twice early and Grace saved us with those two big saves," said Drexler. "We made some changes and kind of adapted."
Those changes led to Carrboro getting the first score of the game in the 16th minute. Elizabeth Cato delivered a corner kick that bounced off the head of Miah Araba and was knocked into the goal by Laura Sparling. The Jaguars led 1-0.
Carrboro quickly added to that lead when Katie Knotek delivered a cross to the head of Evie Joseph for the second goal of the game. That score pushed the lead to 2-0.
Drexler said Nanney's play was the key to the first half run for the Jaguars.
"She was great. Without her and those first two saves in the first half, it could have been 2-0 them and it's a completely different game," he said. "Right after that we got our two goals, so without those saves it's a completely different game."
That two-goal lead held for Carrboro through the first half and into halftime.
Carrboro dominated possession throughout the game, keeping West Stokes at bay throughout the second half.
"We're a possession team. We kind of prided ourselves on that all year, so it's something that we practice and the girls play that style," said Drexler. "The way that (West Stokes) played, it kind of fit into that. The possession was huge today for us."
Both teams had chances to score in the second half, but it was not until the 77th minute when Araba scored on a free kick to put an exclamation mark on the win.
The win was a lot different that the last two state championships for Carrboro. Each of the previous state championship wins happened in overtime.
"I'll take that. Last two years we went into overtime and it was nerve-racking, and this year we were able to get it done in regular time," Drexler said. "We scored a couple of goals early and got the last one late, so I was able to take a few deep breaths, and yeah, I prefer it that way."
Carrboro finishes the season with a 21-1-1 record, including winning 19 consecutive games to end the season. The Jaguars' only loss was a 3-0 contest at Leesville Road. Carrboro also tied Chapel Hill 2-2.
West Stokes' loss in the state championship leaves the Wildcats with an overall record of 24-4-1.
Follow Nick Stevens on Twitter @NickStevensHSOT