Panther Creek plays tough Hoggard team in state semifinals

tstevens@newsobserver.comMay 26, 2014 

Correction This story incorrectly reported the winner of the 2013 NCHSAA girls’ 4A soccer championship. Green Hope High defeated Cornelius Hough 2-0. The story also incorrectly reported that Hough played in the past three title games, winning two. Hough played in the past two championships and defeated Green Hope 2-1 in 2012.

Panther Creek, ranked No. 1 in The N&O girls soccer poll most of the season, faces a team in the state semifinals that has feasted off of area teams in the playoffs this season.

Wilmington Hoggard, which plays at Panther Creek at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, ousted Broughton 4-0 in the first round and slipped past Fuquay-Varina in a shootout in the second round. Leesville Road led the Vikings 1-0 going into the final two minutes before losing in overtime, 2-1.

Hoggard eliminated Sanderson 1-0 on a goal by junior Sayres McKenna on Saturday night.

The Vikings (21-2-2) have not lost to an N.C. High School Athletic Association team this season. They were beaten 5-0 by Charlotte Latin and and 2-1 by Fayetteville Academy.

Panther Creek has not allowed a goal since beating Sanderson 3-1 on April 21. The Catamounts have nine straight shutouts, including four consecutive in the playoffs.

Catamount coach David Grant gives a lot of credit to freshman Meredith Hamby, junior Rachael Everhart, and junior Reylene Alberti.

“With those three we have the luxury of playing three back there, instead of four,” Grant said. “They are all skilled individually but also work together so well.”

Hough pursues third straight: Cornelius Hough has played in the past two N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A girls’ soccer championships and won in 2012. The Huskies advanced to the Western 4A final with a 2-0 win over West Forsyth.

Hough (23-0-2) has 20 shutouts this season and will play Charlotte Myers Park (23-2) in the western final.

Postponed retirement: Veteran Chapel Hill girls soccer coach Ron Benson is expected to retire after this season, so every victory has postponed the end of his coaching career by one more game.

Saturday night at Swansboro, his Tigers rallied with three second-half goals for a 3-1 victory over Swansboro. Chapel Hill (21-1) plays at Wilson Fike (21-2-1) on Tuesday in the semifinals.

Mia Spencer tied the quarterfinal game with 29:15 remaining off a crossing pass from Sofie Nielson. Less than four minutes later, Frances Reuland gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead, and three minutes after that Megan Dell booted in a rebounded free kick by Alexandra Kimball.

The Tigers out-shot Swansboro 12-3.

The Tigers are on the road because they advanced as the No. 2 seed from the Big Eight 3A Conference after sharing the regular-season title with Cardinal Gibbons.

Fike has received outstanding play from keeper E.J. Proctor, a Duke recruit, and has advanced past Richlands, 10-1; Jacksonville White Oak, 2-1; Jacksonville, 2-1; and Northern Guilford, 4-3 in overtime.

Freshman Emilee Futrell scored the game winner against Northern Guilford.

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