As a member of the tough Southwest Wake Athletic Conference, the Fuquay-Varina girls soccer team is used to only getting a handful of good scoring chances a game and knows the importance of taking advantage of those precious opportunities.
In the second round of the NCHSAA 4A playoffs, the Bengals’ ability to put away those chances led to a 5-0 victory on the road over Greater Neuse River Conference champion Clayton.
Twice Megan Greene managed to get onto the end of a perfectly placed free kick from senior Rebekah Furr to help stake the visitors to a three-goal lead by the 45th minute.
“In our conference, you don’t get many opportunities and you’ve got to take advantage of them,” Fuquay-Varina coach Nick Acosta said. “We’ve got some kids that can put us into some dangerous spots and get on the end of it and we do a pretty good job at scoring on those chances when we get them.”
After Kristina Sedivy stunned the Comets less than five minutes into the game with a looping shot that fell just under the crossbar for the early lead, the Bengals dominated the possession and the scoring chances for the rest of the half.
In the 37th minute, Furr took advantage of a free kick awarded to the guests and found Greene wide open in front of the goal and Fuquay-Varina’s leading scorer easily converted the opportunity for a 2-0 halftime lead.
Greene’s second goal, less than five minutes in after play resumed in the second half, all but put the game away for the No. 10 seed in the 4A East.
Clayton had a handful of free kicks on the night and the Comets were able to put the ball in dangerous positions in front of the goal, but their runners were unable to get free for an uncontested try on net.
“Against good teams, you’ve got to capitalize on direct kicks and corners,” Clayton coach William Williams said. “I thought we had good kicks, we just had a hard time finishing because they did their job by covering people in the box.
“They did a better job at handling that than we did and that’s how they got some goals.”
For much of the game, Clayton was forced to chase the ball as the Bengals benefited from a strong combined effort from their two central midfielders, Furr and Kelly Suggs.
That duo, in addition to conducting Fuquay-Varina’s attack, often got into the passing lanes when the Comets did manage to win possession of the ball and allowed the Bengals (16-3) to attack in waves.
“Rebekah Furr and Kelley Suggs playing the midfield for us are fantastic,” said Acosta. “They keep the tempo of the game for us and keep possession of it. They keep our shape and they do a lot of the work that often goes unnoticed; they’re a huge part of what we do.”
Clayton’s Janelle Reid provided a spark off the bench and came closest to getting the ball past Bengals goalkeeper Rachel Howard.
Clark received a cross from Everett Biggs in the first half, turned and fired a shot into the side netting.
Then, in the second half, Clark once again gained possession of the ball inside the Fuquay-Varina penalty box and this time blasted a point blank shot that Howard was game to saving.
Fuquay-Varina’s Hannah McClaugherty and Suggs added goals in the waning minutes to provide the final score.
Seniors Sarah Rebbeor, Veronica Villasusa, Kayli Watson and Claudia Woznichak played their final game for the Comets but despite the defeat leave as conference champions and with a 16-4 overall record.
“I’m so proud that the girls won the conference this year,” said Williams. “We haven’t had a championship since ‘08 and they went 13-1 (in conference) and had two home playoff games, which has never happened here in 4A.
“I’m proud of them; it’s been a privilege just to be around them.”