Durham Academy had won seven straight soccer matches and was alone in first place in the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association’s Triangle Division.
But that was before a visit from Cary Academy.
Despite having a high-powered offense that had out-scored opponents 33-2 heading into Friday’s conference match, the Cavaliers couldn’t get the ball past Cary Academy’s defense and its backup goalie, Aiden Lefebvre, Cary Academy came away from Moylan Field with a 1-0 win.
The Chargers’ victory avenged an 3-0 loss to DA earlier this season in Cary. And it was Durham Academy’s first defeat since a 3-1 lo Providence Day in last year NCISAA state semifinals.
“It was a good, evenly matched game,” Cary coach Jeff Costa said. “It felt good to return the favor after they beat us so bad at home.”
Cary’s goal was just the third given up so far this year by DA’s defense. The Cavaliers had dominated their opponents with six shutouts in seven games. , who reached the NCISAA state semifinals last year,
Before Friday’s game, North Raleigh Christian Academy had been the only team to score against DA, getting two goals in a 5-2 loss to the Cavaliers.
But DA was shell-shocked with less than 2 minutes into Friday’s match, when Carly Lumpton Smith slotted the ball low to her right and into the net to give Cary the only goal it would need.
“It was an intense game, and they (Cary) played inspired ball,” Durham Acaemy coach Susan Ellis said. “But we thought we had plenty of time to pull out the win.”
The Cavaliers became more aggressive offensively in the second period.
Midfielder Lakin Barry had back-to-back breakaway opportunities to tie the game at the 34:22 and 27:20 marks, but the first ball sailed wide left and the latter was stopped by a tremendous right-hand block by Lefebvre.
Lefebvre’s defense seemed to inspire the rest of the team, which kept up with DA’s pace. The Cavaliers had three more open shots the rest of the game, but couldn’t capitalize.
Ellis said she’s more concerned over the team’s performance than the breaking up of its unbeaten streak.
“It’s never our goal to go undefeated,” she said. “It’s a nice accomplishment, but our main goal is to get better with each match.”
The Cavaliers (7-1-0, 4-1 Triangle) travel to Greensboro Day today for a non-conference game at 4:30 p.m.
Cary Academy (4-2-1, 3-1-0), still a half-game in back of Durham Academy at the start of the week, has a chance to catch the Cavaliers with a conference game against North Raleigh Christian (6-3-0, 2-2-0).