Despite dominating almost every aspect of the match, Athens Drive girls’ soccer needed two unanswered goals to down Knightdale 2-1 at home Thursday night.
Shayna McKinnon’s 71st minute strike gave the Jags the winning edge.
“We were in an attack position, I saw Rachel (Snyder) was running down the sideline and I was like ‘aye’ … she crossed it in through them and ‘boop,’ ” McKinnon said.
The Jaguars struggled in finishing, only converting on two of their 24 shots, but the final result is what’s most important to coach Travis Seese.
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“You’re not going to be able to play your best in all 20 games out there,” Seese said. “But if you can not play your best and still come out with a win, that’s something to build off of moving forward.”
Athens (2-2-1, 0-2-1 Southwest Wake 4A) took the first seven shots of the game, but the Knights (3-3) struck first as Tori Leech finessed a shot past Mary Grace Bunch in a one-on-one situation in the 21st minute.
Twelve minutes later, the Jaguars found their equalizer when Snyder’s set piece found the forehead of Robin Gallagher, who buried the ball just inside the right post.
For Knightdale, the game was a final chance to work out certain kinks before it is scheduled to open Greater Neuse River Conference play Wednesday at Rolesville.
“We definitely could’ve played better, but we were resting some girls with injuries and we’ve had three-game weeks back-to-back,” said assistant coach Megan Giunco. “When we play non-conference games like this … we like to see does this formation work versus that. If it works against teams like Athens, then we can pull it off in conference, too.”
McKinnon’s game-winning strike with nine minutes to go.
They Said It
Seese, whose team has already played three SWAC games, also appreciated the benefits that come with playing teams from outside the league.
“Our conference is going to be really tight,” he said. “It’s good to get these non-conference games in because you know every game in the SWAC is going to be an absolute battle.”
Three to Know
Rachel Snyder, Athens Drive: The UNC-Asheville recruit assisted both of the Jaguars goals and created a plethora of attacking chances through set piece opportunities.
“She’s pretty much the focal point of our attack,” Seese said. “She creates a lot of havoc in the back line.”
Shayna McKinnon, Athens Drive: The sophomore striker kept the Jaguars from staying below .500, blasting the final shot of the night into the top of the net.
Mallory Aycock, Knightdale: Aycock saved six shots as Athens’ offensive pressure refused to let up.
By the Numbers
24: Shots by Athens, eight of which were on goal.
3: Shots by Knightdale, two of which were on goal.