It’s said that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Both Apex’s and Holly Springs’ girls soccer teams exemplified the meaning of the phrase as they met on the field Wednesday night.
The Golden Hawks, still affected by the injury of key player Kristen Bootes early in the season, were led by freshmen Kayla Slaughter, Chloe Hyder, and Angelina Anderson, each scoring one goal as Holly Springs defeated Apex 3-0 while the Cougars celebrated Senior Night.
“When you lose someone who scores all your goals you need some people to step up, and that’s what we’ve had tonight,” Holly Springs coach Brian Miller said. “We need goals not just from one person but from everywhere. If you look at our stat sheet we have a lot of people contributing at the right time.”
Apex sits at 3-12 after the loss, but never showed it on the field. The Cougars remained fiery down to the final seconds of the game, even while trailing. One play found three Apex attackers on the ground in the back of the net in a desperate surge to score, but the ball never found its way in.
“It shows a lot of character,” said coach Kevin Todd. “Throughout the whole season they have never given up. There are times where you just have to keep persevering no matter what, and that’s what we’ve had to do.”
Apex honored seniors Alex Graf, Joanna Kassimis, Maureen Marquie, Caley Dunn, Jessica Wight, Katie Davine, Carla Thomas, Kaitlin Barbour and Sarah Partridge as they played in the final home game of their careers.
Todd is most proud of this group of seniors for, “The way that they’ve maintained their bond together, because our season hasn’t been the easiest. Sometimes you can become fragmented if you’re not able to keep that (bond).
“It’s just a game and what’s more important is our relationship with each other. That is what’s going to be important as we leave and look back.”
Holly Springs should receive a wild-card bid to the 4A playoffs, which start next week.
“Fighting through adversity was a big thing and as a coach, it’s been a very rewarding experience,” Miller said. “(Learning) how not look at one player to do all the work for you, but how to come together as a team and all be valuable contributors to the game.”
Apex has now missed the playoffs for two consecutive years. However, Todd has no worries about the future.
“We’re looking forward to what the underclassmen will bring next year. They’ll be right there challenging, I have no doubt about that.”