RALEIGH — Wakefield girls soccer coach Derek Williams has watched his Wolverines play three matches a week for the past month. That streak will end next week because Wakefield will be off with spring break.
Williams wondered if his team could play its last match at a high level against Broughton on Thursday.
The first half was OK, Williams' thought, because both teams were scoreless. The second half was much better.
The Wolverines got four goals - one coming off an own-goal from Broughton - by showing teamwork in a variety of ways for the 4-0 victory, a win that pleased Williams.
"We haven't played an entire half at our best effort since five or six matches from now," Williams said. "It's nice to see the girls be able to not settle a half early before spring break."
On offense, forward Nikki Burns was usually the one creating opportunities for the Wolverines (12-1-3, 9-1-2 Cap Eight). She was able to run and dribble by defenders with her speed - so much so that Broughton goalkeeper Caroline Duncan received a yellow card for impeding Burns' run into the penalty box.
"She really put both arms around me like a bear hug," Burns said.
With the chance to take the lead on a penalty kick, Burns felt uneasy. She knew the penalty kick could become the play that changed the match in favor of either team depending on the outcome. Although she leads the Wolverines in goals this season, Burns reached out to her teammates.
"I was scared," Burns said. "I was saying, 'Who can take this shot? Who can take the kick?'"
Forward Danielle McPhun approached the kick. She was calm in pushing the ball past Duncan and into the net with her right foot.
"I just knew everyone was wondering, so I said I could do it," McPhun said. "That goal was huge for us because it gave us confidence."
The Wolverines felt even more positive about themselves after they were able to keep Broughton off the scoreboard in the following 10 minutes. During that time, the Caps (8-7, 6-6) produced their biggest scoring opportunities against Wakefield goalkeeper Madison Shaw, who recorded six saves.
Broughton forward Marianna Mitterling did have a chance to tie the match in the 56th minute. After making a run down the left side of the field, Mitterling received a sharp cross from forward Clay Weaver.
Shaw was able to deflect Mitterling's shot over the cross bar.
From there, Shaw turned her attention to offense, where she sent a free kick more than 40 yards to assist Burns in her first of two goals in the 65th minute.
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