In a Southwest Wake Athletic Conference match-up between two perennial girls soccer contenders, it was the weather that had the final say on the outcome.
Only the first six minutes of the game were played in dry conditions. The skies above Cary High’s Cooper Field broke open and stayed that way.
Both sides were waterlogged in their scoring efforts, but the conditions also caused the winning play – a deflection off the legs of Panther Creek senior Mazzy Sullivan into the Cary goal that provided the only score in a 1-0 win for the Catamounts.
“The weather actually played into our favor,” Panther Creek head coach David Grant said. “It helped us to keep the ball on the ground, helped us hold the ball a little longer then normal.”
In the 50th minute, in the pouring rain, Cary goalkeeper Abbey Madden went to clear the ball, but hit it straight into the legs of Sullivan which launched it back into the Cary net.
The Catamounts (6-0, 2-0) were not without their chances in the first half, but Madden was up to the task as she stopped two point-blank shots in the 18th minute to keep Panther Creek off the scoreboard.
“I thought we played a lot better in the second half, we put a lot more pressure on them then we did in the first,” Cary head coach Laura Kerrigan said. “Definitely had a great chance to score.”
In the 60th minute, Cary (1-4, 0-2) had an excellent chance to equalize as Elli Edwards put up a great ball from the left side of the pitch, but Panther Creek junior goalkeeper Celeste Barnard timed it perfectly, tipping it off the crossbar, and then was cleared by the Catamount defense.
“We played hard, I’m very happy with the effort from our team,” coach Kerrigan said. “I’m seeing a level of toughness and combativeness that is going to pay off in the long run in the season.”