May 26, 2012
Sophomore forward Sarah Moon scored two goals in the final 11 minutes of the game to lift Cornelius W.A Hough to a dramatic 2-1 victory over Cary Green Hope on Saturday in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state 4-A women's soccer championship game at Dail Soccer Field.
The Huskies' game winner came from Moon in the 76th minute and gave Hough its first NCHSAA women's soccer title. She was selected as the championship match Most Valuable Player.
Moon outraced her defenders on a service from the right flank and tucked the ball away for the decisive goal.
It was an evenly matched game between two outstanding teams, both of whom are nationally ranked according to one ESPN poll, with both teams recording six shots on goal. Green Hope did have an 8-1 edge in corner kicks, however.
A tight first half ended scoreless, although Green Hope had four corner kicks in the first half but could not capitalize on the set pieces. Green Hope broke the ice in the 58th minute when Alexis Shaffer, the Tri-Nine Conference Player of the Year, converted on a penalty kick for a 1-0 lead, her 30th goal of the season.
Then 11 minutes later Hough got the equalizer when Moon scored on an assist from Allison Stearns, the I-Meck Conference Player of the Year, to make it 1-1 and set the stage for the exciting finish.
Huskies goalkeeper Marnie Merritt was credited with five saves.
Hough, in just its second year of operation and with its first senior class, ended the season with a 25-match winning streak since a tie with Charlotte Myers Park in the second match of the season. The Huskies finished 26-0-1.
Five of the key Hough players were sophomore members of the North Mecklenburg state championship team from 2010, but were reassigned to Hough when it opened.
Green Hope, which had outscored its opposition 27-1 in five previous state playoff contests on its run to the finals, lost for the first time after 25 consecutive wins.
The Raleigh Sports Consortium serves as the primary host city partner for the women's soccer championship, along with the Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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