One goal was all that was scored in the Leesville Road vs. Holly Springs soccer match Wednesday night.
For the Pride, one was plenty.
Leesville advances to the fourth round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A soccer playoffs after the hard-fought win. The Pride will host Athens Drive Friday night.
“Right now, anybody still alive is a viable and a hard opponent,” Leesville coach Paul Dinkenor said.
Both teams played stellar defense out of the gate, but it was Leesville that kept the pressure on the ball to keep the Hawks (11-9-4) on the run.
The Pride (22-1-2) had several early chances to score but a corner kick was blocked, and freshman Hannah Arostegui’s kick near the net hit the side goal.
But with 2 minutes, 7 seconds left in the first period, junior Avery Gardner streaked down midfield with two defenders in tow. Arostegui pushed the ball in front of Gardner, who outran her opponents and slid the ball past goalie M.D. Atkins, who overcommitted and couldn’t regroup.
“We got better as the match went on and played like we’re capable of playing,” Dinkenor said. “In the other games that we won, we didn’t get better in the game, but tonight we played like we deserved to win.”
The teams went back and forth in the second period. Despite the Pride’s advantage in speed and quickness, Holly Springs had several opportunities to tie the match.
Senior Sierra Raynor had a clear shot at the goal but the ball sailed over the net at the 30:48 mark. Junior Alyssa Poth also had a wide-open opportunity but the ball again flew over the net with 24 minutes left.
The Golden Hawks had a chance with 22 seconds remaining, but goalie Shannon Hardy got the final stop.