DURHAM — Leesville Road sophomore MacKenzie Dipper scored all three Pride goals Tuesday night as Leesville advanced to the 4A Eastern soccer semifinals with a 3-2 win against Durham Jordan.
The Pride (18-4-1) will face the winner of Wednesdays Millbrook-Green Hope match. Millbrook won the Cap Eight and recorded three wins against Leesville, all by one goal, while Green Hope is states top-ranked team.
The Pride got down 1-0 early, but scored quickly to tie it and then, according to coach Paul Dinkenor, played a much better second half.
In the first half we did not play very well, gave up a sloppy goal early but kind of bounced right back, and that was good, Dinkenor said. The second half, I thought, we were a different team. I thought we had some wide-open goals we could of had to seal this game. Even at 3-1, it should have been over, but we made it interesting.
Jordan (16-3-2) scored in just the third minute on a corner kick by Emma Postel, headed in by Milli Blivin. Leesville answered in the next minute when Dipper headed in a Kelsey Reeves corner kick.
Dipper broke the tie with a penalty kick in the fifth minute of the second half, and she scored another header off another corner kick by Reeves for a 3-1 lead with just less than eight minutes left.
Jordan did tighten things up six minutes later with a goal by Shelby Hicks, but the Pride defense held on for the win.
We talked before the game, and the only message I had for (Dipper) was be a difference maker, and she was, Dinkenor said. And I thought she worked really hard to win the ball and she got some extremely good services.
Kelsey Reeves also had an outstanding game. Shes at the top of her game now. She looked fitter and quicker than anyone else on the field, Dinkenor said. Madison Huffmann, whos a freshman, did a really good job at stopper. Shell run all day, she covers a lot of ground.
He also pointed to the play of seniors Claire Coward and Anne Cushman, junior Sydney Frizzelle, and senior Nicole Park.
Our experienced players did well, we did good, Dinkenor said. Our starting backs have started for two years and theyve been in big games. Now were back in the quarter-finals and people were writing us off early on, but Im really proud of the girls for what theyve done.
Jordan coach Sarah Kaneko said she was also proud of what her girls accomplished this year.
The teams excited they won the conference for the first time and made it into the third round, said Kaneko. In the past weve finished high in the league and had good records, but lost in the first round of the playoffs, so this was a very successful season for us.