Scoring the first goal was more important than ever when the Green Hope girls soccer team defeated crosstown rival and reigning state champion Panther Creek 2-0 Monday. The Falcons tallied both goals in the first half, and the game was called due to lightning just 34 seconds into the second half.
Green Hope, ranked eighth in The News & Observer area, came out on all cylinders.
In the second minute, Summer Hanks crossed in a ball that went just over the outstretched fingertips of Panther Creek goalkeeper Katherine Hammond to the foot of Taylor Cammarata, who buried the opportunity.
Striking first has been a similar theme for Green Hope (3-2-1, 3-1-0) all season.
“It’s something we talk a lot about, we know we’re going to get early chances and historically if we finish early chances, then the games bode well for us,” Green Hope coach Stacy Lamb said. “It gives the girls that confidence of ‘Okay, we’ve been here before’ and have a little bit of an edge.”
The teams traded chances offensively, but the stellar play of Green Hope goalkeeper Lily Dunn in the net kept the Falcons’ lead alive.
In the 38th minute, Green Hope doubled its lead thanks to a placed through ball from Grace Wagner that Cam Dixon was able to power under the crossbar just before halftime.
Fresh off of a state championship and back-to-back appearances, No. 10 Panther Creek (4-3, 3-2) has had its share of growing pains after graduating seniors who had lost just one match in two years, but has promising young talent.
“This team is not last year’s team and last year’s team wasn’t the year before that,” coach David Grant said. “We have two freshmen that play significant minutes and … those two have done more than I’ve asked them to do. We’re not looking for anyone to fill shoes. It’s not ‘Can Abby be Rachel?’ or ‘Can Emily be Emma or Justine?’”
Dunn had a save in the opening minute that allowed the Falcons to quickly get forward and score in the second minute.
They said it
The win gave Green Hope a 14-9 lead in the “Fight for 55,” a competition between all the varsity athletic teams at Panther Creek and Green Hope.
“This game always means more. It’s not just because it’s Panther Creek … they’re teammates of ours on club teams and right down the street and there’s that pride factor, the ‘Fight for 55,’” Lamb said. “Our girls look forward to it, I look forward to it and people and spectators look forward to it.”
Three to know
Lily Dunn, Green Hope: Dunn had three saves, but also parried numerous crosses out of the box and pounced on several loose balls to stall Panther Creek’s attacks.
Emily Moxley, Panther Creek: The freshman striker constantly brought pressure and picked out open space on the offensive end.
Sarah Barnes, Panther Creek: Barnes anchored the Catamounts back line, wreaking havoc in the Falcons’ passing lanes.
By the numbers
6: Shots for Green Hope, three of which were on goal.
4: Shots by Panther Creek, three of which were on goal.