CARY — Green Hope wants make it back to the girls’ soccer state championship game. But first, there are 22 regular season games to take care of.
Each one counts the same, but some of those mean more than others, as is certainly the case with Tri-9 Conference rival Apex.
But on Wednesday, the rivalry was lopsided.
Green Hope poured on the goals early in an 8-0 win.
“Apex is a good team, I think you just saw it snowball tonight,” said Green Hope coach Bobby Peterson. “You start feeling the momentum and all of a sudden everything starts flowing.”
What worked: There was no chink in the Falcons’ armor on this night, but Peterson singled out passing as its best strength.
“Today was as good as I’ve seen them play this year or the last,” said Peterson, no small accomplishment since the Falcons’ only loss last year was in the 4A title game. “They moved the ball beautifully tonight.”
He couldn’t be too uspet with the finishing either. The Falcons (3-0, 2-0) were coming off a 4-1 win at Holly Springs in which the team took 42 shots.
Out of bounds: The wind, with gusts of up to 40 miles per hour, made for bloopers and highlights alike.
In the first half, Green Hope goalkeeper Lisa Armstrong’s clearing kick was knocked back to the ground and fell just a few feet from where she booted it. On the same goal in the second half, Hannah Carroll watched her corner kick catch the wind and take a sharp bend into the net for a goal.
Highlight reel: Senior Alexis Shaffer had three goals in the first half and didn’t play in the second, but her best goal may have come in the 11th minute when she weaved around an Apex defender and ripped a 21-yard blast into the upper right corner.
Senior Alexis Degler scored on a quick one-touch goal off a pass from Maura McDonnell just 28 seconds into the game.
Putting up Numbers: Shaffer, Degler and Carroll combined for six goals, while Kenly Sigmon and Kaylin Lang added goals off rebounds. McDonnell had three assists.
Going forward: A big reason why Green Hope’s stars didn’t play for most, and in some cases all, of the second half had a lot to do with Thursday’s game at Sanderson. Also, playing in such cold conditions could have been an injury risk.
With a lot of seasons till left, and a goal this high, it was the best move for the Falcons.
Apex (0-2-1, 0-2-1) has Athens Drive and Holly Springs next week.
Blake: 919-460-2606; On Twitter: @JMBpreps