Undefeated and ranked number one in the country among girls high school soccer teams, Green Hope busted loose with a three-goal rally in less than three minutes in the first half and rolled to a 5-0 win over Broughton in the second round of the NCHSAA 4-A state playoffs Thursday night.
The win puts the 22-0 Falcons into the third round against either Millbrook or Durham Jordan early next week. The Falcons opened the playoffs with an 11-0 win over Northern Durham Tuesday.
Broughton finished third in the Cap Eight Conference and opened the playoffs with a 7-0 win against Scotland County.
The Caps stayed even for 15 minutes before losing it to a pair of similar transition goals. Maura McDonnell took a pass from Alexis Shaffer, got past the Broughton defense, and then beat the goalkeeper for the first goal.
Just over a minute later Shaffer took a pass from Alexis Degler for another breakaway goal. Then, just 100 seconds later, Shaffer scored from farther out with Maya Worth getting the assist.
“Green Hope is a very nice squad, worthy of where they are,” said Broughton coach Izzy Hernandez, whose team lost to the Falcons 6-0 earlier in the season. “We knew coming in that we’d have to have a big game, too. They had a flurry like that the first time we played them.”
Later in the first half Degler scored with Kenley Sigmon getting the assist for a 4-0 halftime lead.
Grace Hamashima added a second half goal, with an assist by Worth.
“Our offense, this year, will knock on the door and then when that first goal goes in, it’s an emotional high and we get our confidence going, and usually get another goal,” Green Hope coach Bobby Peterson said. “Shaffer and Degler are our [scoring] leaders. They seem to trade off, they seem to play off each other. It’s better than having just one good scorer.”
The win also kept a long shutout streak going for Green Hope with Lisa Armstrong in goal.
“I believe that’s 16 shutouts on the season,” Peterson said. “Lisa is our starter whenever she’s healthy. Kat Stafford and Sidney Durnad have also played there and done well. We’ve had 12 shutouts in a row, I think, and Lisa has been in there for most of that. She’s very comfortable with the defense and Cydney Smith and Sydney Curtis pretty much anchor our defense.”
Peterson also sees the playoffs as a new start for his team.
“The teams we see now, like Cap Eight teams, are good teams that play physical and we have to be ready,” Peterson said.