There was plenty of thunder in the sky over Grace Christian Raleigh’s soccer field Thursday, but the only lightning that hit the field was provided by Micah King.
The Eagles freshman forward netted a hat trick, providing all her team’s goals in a 3-0 win over Cary Christian in an Eastern Plains Independent Conference match.
King scored via a pair of first-half headers, both off corner kicks from teammate Alexis Lang, and added a third tally by drilling a shot into the top right corner of the goal.
“I’ve been practicing my corner kicks a lot,” Lang said if her successful setups. “Particularly in getting them right around the goal.”
King appreciated Lang’s effort.
“I focused on the ball and finished in the box,” King said. “But without those corners I don’t score.”
Unsung hero: Nyle Nwainokpor, a Grace Christian eighth-grader, was perhaps the quickest player on the field and set up several scoring chances for herself by blowing past defenders. Nwainokpor didn’t light up the scoreboard but she also had a few nifty passes to her Eagles teammates throughout.
What worked: Grace Christian coach Roman Pibl implored his team several times in the early going to “Move!” and the Eagles (6-1, 1-1) eventually heeded his call, stretching the field.
Cary Christian, led by sophomore MaKenna Lagaly’s impressive all-around play throughout, did notch a few scoring chances, though Eagles netminder Alexa Pibl was up to the task in recording a shutout.
Needs improvement: As Roman Pibl pointed out, his Eagles were standing around a bit in the opening minutes of play. An upcoming opponent could take advantage of such a ‘funk’ if the Eagles make a habit of slow starts.
The Knights are in need of crisper passing that could lead to more possession and result in more scoring chances. Cary Christian played hard and stayed positive despite suffering some key injuries of late, a testament to coach Brian Twidt.
Out of bounds: A Grace Christian player, after accidentally knocking down a Cary Christian player, could be heard asking her opponent “Are you OK?” She then patted her opponent on the back to extend the show of good sportsmanship.
Feeling the impact: Both programs are very strong and it will be interesting to see if the decisive win bolsters Grace Christian going forward. Cary Christian, meanwhile, will have to show it can bounce back from a difficult loss where it got handled by a key rival. Getting healthy again will surely help the Knights’ cause
Best quote: “She’s insane, we love her especially how she’s fought back in coming back from two knee surgeries,” King said of Alexa Pibl, the head coach’s daughter.