Holly Springs’ girls soccer team took home a 3-0 victory at Northern Durham in a game that was much closer than the final score indicated. Holly Springs scored all three of its goals in the final 12 minutes.
The Golden Hawks began the game with an offensive flurry, shooting from well outside the 18-yard box and testing Northern keeper Sarah Hofmeir. Hofmeir had nearly protected the entire surface area of the goal within the first 10 minutes and was on her toes the entire game.
Kayla Slaughter was an offensive powerhouse for Holly Springs. Slaughter was a threat anywhere within 35 yards and had multiple shots graze the crossbar in the first half. Slaughter contributed to many of the Hawks’ 24 shots.
The first 20 minutes of the game were controlled almost entirely by Holly Springs.
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Every 50-50 ball was going the way of the away team who just seemed more comfortable on the pitch. Holly Springs’ experience showed as their field spacing let them generate the pace of the game.
Around the 20 minute mark, the Knights began to rally and show signs of life. The team became much more aggressive and played with a bigger sense of urgency. The Knights sent long passes to senior Taylor Manley, who could outrun defenders.
The bright spot for Northern was its defense, led by captain Maria Guerrero. Guerrero was the defensive anchor that contested many of the shots taken by Holly Springs and forced the Hawks offside five times.
The Northern stronghold held a 0-0 tie for 67 minutes and almost escaped with a tie. However, Holly Springs captain Ellis Fitzhugh placed the ball perfectly in the top corner of the Knight net on a free kick from 20-yards out.
This only gave the Fitzhugh more confidence as she proceeded to add another goal by heading in a corner kick from fellow captain Kelli Hays at the 72-minute mark. The final goal of the evening came off another corner from Hays, this time being redirected by the Hawks’ Kaitlin Dillard.
Northern coach Mike Tetreault acknowledges the team’s youth but was still impressed by their effort against a veteran Hawks squad.
“We’ve got maybe a handful of seniors and even juniors and so most of our kids are freshman and sophomores,” Tetreault said. “Every half this year they’ve really grown into being more effective players and being stronger players. They’re dealing with a very, very good and talented Holly Springs team that went to the final eight in the state playoffs last year.”