Midtown: Sports

Braga, Sanderson beat WF-R on senior night

Wednesday’s soccer match didn’t start the way Kaylyn Braga and her Sanderson teammates pictured it. But by now they know that finishing the match is what matters. After giving up an early goal, Braga, a senior goalkeeper, was solid, and Sanderson came away with a 2-1 win over Wake Forest-Rolesville on senior night.

“I just wanted to go out with a bang instead of being mad about the game when it ended,” Braga said.

The match turned into a defensive battle after WF-R’s Julia Hartman scored in the fourth minute. Sanderson trailed at halftime, but struck quickly with a Ryan Davis goal in the 46th minute.

Sanderson coach Todd Worley said his team’s experience this season was a big reason why his Spartans were able to rally. After starting the Cap Eight 4A season 1-4, his team has now won five of its last seven conference matches.

“After the first quarter of the season, the girls have persevered through everything,” Worley said. “Even if they’re not playing well, they still play hard. We kept going after it, and we finally got the equalizer.”

The Spartans took the lead in the form of a Grace Todd tip-in off a Taylor Woods flip throw-in. It was a play that WF-R coach Deran Coe was wary of coming into the match. Coe said his team spent hours working on stopping the play, but it was something that is hard to simulate.

“The majority of their chances both times we played them came off their throw-ins,” he said. “They use them well to their advantage. Take those throw-ins away, and we played a pretty even game.”

Braga was one of three seniors playing their last regular season home match.

“Our team learned how to gel,” Braga said. “We’ve got a solid formation and really learned how to work with each other better than we did in the beginning.”

While Braga had praise for her teammates, Worley took the time to recognize her contribution to the team’s success.

“Kaylyn’s a special player,” he said. “She had a bad play, she let it go, and she just played. She always does that. She’s had a good career here.”