RALEIGH — It’s still early in the season, but Holly Springs already had a sense of urgency.
After suffering losses Green Hope and Cary in their first two Tri-9 Conference games, Holly Springs was determined not to pick up a third.
It won 1-0 at Athens Drive Wednesday night.
After a scoreless first half, Holly Springs took control of the game when Megan Poth broke away from the pack for a streaking goal down the heart of the Athens Drive defense with 33:32 remaining in the game. The senior midfielder’s goal would be all her team needed as it dominated the ball and played solid defense the rest of the way.
What worked:Putting pressure on the ball proved to be the key for Holly Springs in the win. It started in the first half of the match, and really paid off in the second half. Holly Springs coach Brian Miller wouldn‘t have it any other way.
“In the first half we did a lot of high pressure, had a lot of possessions...we could have been up three or four at half,” he said. “We want high pressure, we want to have our speed and we want to get the ball back.
Needs improvement: Athens Drive had trouble trying to score on the Holly Springs defense. The few times the Jaguars did get past Holly Springs’ back line, goalkeeper Kaitlyn Huagsk stood her ground. Miller said that once his team was able to take the lead, he had no worries about whether or not they would maintain it.
“We were just waiting to get that lead,” he said. “Megan Poth scored that goal, and from there on, they are not going to score on our back four, so I was pretty confident.
Sights and Sounds:The game started just as the sun began to set over Williams Stadium, and for most of the game, the temperature was in the low 40s. The ground was soggy and the wind was strong.
“It’s a tough night to play,” Miller said. “The field is a little slick, the grass is thick, it’s cold, and it’s hard to sub because girls are sitting on the bench freezing.”
Athens Drive first-year coach Luis Satorra said he didn‘t think the weather was much of a factor based on the style of game that both teams played.
“Both teams tried to play the ball on the ground, so it (the weather) didn’t effect the game at all,” Satorra said. “Even with the wind and with some rain, it was a great game from both teams.”