CARY — Panther Creek defeated Wakefield 2-0 Wednesday in a first-round N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A girls’ soccer tournament contest that was filled with drama both on and off the field.
The Catamounts got on the board when Lindsay Pasteris scored a goal with 11:06 remaining in the first half of her first varsity soccer game.
The sophomore, who was moved up from junior varsity for the playoffs, scored again with 37:16 remaining in the second half.
Two seconds later, shortly after 8 p.m., the game was delayed due to lightning.
The delay lasted more than an hour before officials called the game in favor of Panther Creek. NCHSAA rules state that if a game is suspended at or beyond halftime, the score is final.
Wakefield coach C.J. Komons said he dreaded delivering the news to his team.
“Unfortunately we had to end the game. I can’t say that I wanted to do it,” he said. “They were really upset. There were a couple of seniors that really wanted to play.”
On the other end of the called game, Panther Creek coach David Grant admitted his team had an added sense of urgency as the weather took a turn for the worse.
“Seeing the results of the weather, you start to gameplan a little bit,” he said. “We tried to get that half over with and go from there because after the halftime whistle, it’s an official game.”
While Grant said he would have loved to complete game, he understood why the decision was made to call it final.
“When it’s all said and done, you’ve got to look at the bigger picture: weather, the safety of the players and the weeks ahead if we were to advance.”
Panther Creek will play at Durham Jordan on Friday at 6:30 p.m.
It was a bitter end to a sweet first season at Wakefield for Komons, who coached at Terry Sanford in Fayetteville prior to coming to Wakefield. He said he was pleased with the way the team came together after a rocky start.
“It was rough at the beginning, but they came together as a team,” he said. “They played a lot better at the end of the year than they did at the beginning of the year, which a coach loves to watch unfold in front of him.”
Komons says he’s looking forward to more growth next season.
“We’re returning nine starters, 14 or 15 players,” he said “We have a core of good players coming back so I’m excited.”