Behind a hat trick from Kyra Kandel, Cary’s girls soccer team recorded its first win of the young season Thursday 5-3 over Garner in nonconference action.
After the preseason schedule was wiped out due to inclement weather, Cary (1-2, 0-1 Southwest Wake) dropped the first two games of the season by a combined score of 6-1 before breaking through against the young Trojans (1-2).
“ A lot of the stuff we’re doing now we would’ve liked to have worked out in the preseason,” Cary coach Laura Kerrigan said. “We’ve been moving players around to a lot of different positions. We’re still trying to figure out what’s the best lineup for us. We had a vastly different lineup today than we had last night (a 5-1 loss to Holly Springs) in terms of who played where.”
The Trojan lineup is “different” in a way all its own.
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Garner started four freshman and four sophomores Thursday and, of the five reserves to enter the game off the bench, four were also freshman.
“We graduated 12 seniors last year. So the unknown is always difficult,” Garner coach Joe Dennis said. “But they can play and I feel comfortable with them playing so I have no problem putting them out there. When we get into conference (play) I think we’ll have a good chance to compete.”
The senior Kandel wasted no time asserting her experience, notching a goal on a free kick just 1 minute, 42 seconds into the contest and scoring again less than 12 minutes later to push the Imps to a quick 2-0 lead.
“I think it took her two goals for us to figure out that’s who they’re going to play through. She’s a very good player. She’ll cause a lot of other team’s problems,” Dennis said.
But before long, youth shined through. With just 34 seconds remaining before halftime, Grace Bondurant’s long range boot sailed over the head of Cary goalkeeper Halah Little to cut the deficit in half. Then Kasey Adams and Michaela Wycoff each registered goals in the first 4:11 of the second half to put the Trojans on top, 3-2.
“That’s the last thing you want as a coach, to give up a goal right before the half and then to give up goals right into the second half,” Kerrigan said. “That was definitely a letdown on our part. But we were able to pull it together again in the second half and I thought we finished extremely strong.”
The three goal outburst in under five minutes of play served as a rallying cry for Dennis and the Trojans.
“It shows good character. We don’t want to be down 2-0 but we know that if we do get down 2-0, we can come back and take the lead and still play,” Dennis said.
The Trojan lead evaporated as quickly as it materialized.
Less than five minutes after Wycoff’s tally, Kandel split the defense in the middle of the field and tied the game on a sliding left-footer for her third goal of the night.
“She’s a goal-scoring threat no matter where she is on the field. We’ve moved her around to a couple different places because when you have a player that good you have to figure out where it’s going to be best for her to play in every game,” Kerrigan said.
In the 59th minute, Simone Marcus scored an unassisted goal off a turnover deep in Garner’s end for what proved to be the game-winner. Andrea Licea added one for good measure during a 67th minute scramble in front of Garner goalkeeper Mandy McLamb.
Bondurant finished with a goal and two assists for the Trojans to counter the big night by Kandel.