DURHAM — The Jordan girls’ soccer team stopped Panther Creek in the second round of the 4A N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs thanks in part to some outstanding play by goalkeeper Rachel Baran.
The Falcons eliminatd the Catamounts by a 1-0 score.
“We played really well tonight in terms of playing with speed and playing forward minded,” Jordan coach Sarah Kaneko said.
Jordan’s Rachel Hill’s goal off a direct kick just outside the penalty box late in the first half was just enough for the Falcons (16-2-2).
The goal was set up by a foul called while Hill was battling with a defender. The referee elected to spot the foul just outside the penalty area, but Hill was more than capable driving the score over the Catamount defender wall and past the outstretched arms of goalkeep Alex Lagrand.
Panther Creek (14-4-1) had a first half scoring opportunity as Mazzy Sullivan drove to the goal with a defender on her hip. Sullivan pushed the ball to the right post but Baran made a diving stop, smothering the ball right before the goal line.
Panther Creek lost Sullivan a couple minutes later when she got tangled up and went down with an apparent leg injury. Sullivan did not return for the remainder of the game.
In the second half, the Catamounts came out with a passion, keeping the Jordan defenders on their heels.
“We made some good halftime adjustments. The first half was getting acclimated to things. Things were becoming a little more positive in the second half and I think it was pretty clear we made the right adjustments,” Panther Creek coach David Grant said.
The Catamounts pressure resulted in two direct kicks, one from 30 yards, a second from 23 yards but both attempts sailed over the crossbar.
Panther Creek continued the pressure and gained its best opportunity when Gretchen Detlinger collected a loose ball in front of the goal. Her shot on goal was deflected by a one-hand diving attempt by Baran and the ball rang of the near post and out. Jordan was able to gather and clear with 24 minutes remaining in the game.
Less than a minute later, Emma Socha received a nice outlet pass and beat her defender to the goal. Her shot beat Baran but clanged off the near post..
Panther Creek still had an opportunity with less than 15 minutes left when Socha side-stepped two defenders and drove a shot on goal but it was stonewalled by Baran.
“The last two nights, we definitely have not been able to finish. We’ve had a lot of good opportunities for goals, but luckily we were able to hold and (Baran) had an excellent game,” Kaneko said.
Jordan hosts Leesville Road next week in the third round.
“It was just a matter of finishing few of those chances. When it comes down to it we played a very great second half but it doesn’t matter if you’re going to finish those opportunities,” Grant said.