Senior Halley Herndon’s second-half goal Thursday afternoon gave Rolesville its first-ever lead over Greater Neuse River Conference rival Knightdale in the teams’ seventh meeting.
It lasted all of three minutes.
But sophomore striker Laney Larussa’s second goal of the match in overtime made sure the second lead will last forever as it secured the 3-2 triumph in overtime.
“We haven’t ever done this,” she said of the win over the Knights. “It’s so big for us going forward.”
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The victory was the first of the season for the Rams, who improved to 1-5 overall and 1-0 in the GNRC and kept the Knights winless at 0-4-1, 0-1.
Senior defender Carson Evans has been a part of all seven meetings between the teams. Prior to the victory, the Rams had been outscored 47-3 by the Knights.
“This is so good,” she said. “It’s great. What a feeling. I mean this one is our first win. Our first win in conference. And it’s the first time we’ve beat Knightdale. This one opened everyone’s eyes.”
Knightdale dominated play early. Maintaining possession and fending off counter-attacks by Rolesville.
The Knights took a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute when senior Taylor Townsend fed a pass to sophomore Mallorie Aycock. Aycock juked a defender and struck a shot that glanced off a Rams’ defender. However, the ball went straight to sophomore Jayla Biggs, who put the ball into the back of the net.
“Jayla is in just her second year of playing,” Knights coach Aaron Steele said. “That goal shows the work she has done. She got herself into the right place to get the finish.”
The Knights nearly made it 2-0 off a corner in the 20th when senior Taylor Ward’s effort found the head of senior Elizabeth James, but her header was just wide.
Two minutes later, the Knights’ got another corner – they had a 12-4 edge in the match – and Aycock’s shot from point-blank range was stuffed by Rolesville keeper Paulina Bui.
“We had plenty of chances,” Steele said. “We had three or four to bury. One came at the end of the half and one came at the end of the game. I’m just shaking my head that we couldn’t just put them away.”
Rolesville got an equalizer on a breakaway in the 24th minute. Sophomore midfielder Sophia Sweeny fed Larussa, who scored to the far post.
It remained that way until the 68th minute when Herndon’s header made it 2-1 Rams.
Knightdale got the equalizer when Ward struck a blast from 30 yards out to beat Bui.
The first extra session saw Rolesville put two shots on frame, but each was turned away by Knights’ senior keeper Cameron Harrell, who finished with seven saves.
The eventual winner came in the 95th minute after the Rams passes knifed through the Knights’ defense. Larussa started the rush near midfield, passing to sophomore Haley Elkins. Elkins passed to Sweeny, whose shot was saved but not controlled. There, Larussa finished.
“It was just some good passing,” Larussa said. “I just followed up after the save. I saw she dropped it and got my chance.”