Smithfield: Sports

Panthers happy just for the invite

The soccer players for North Johnston had thought their season was over last week. They had turned in their uniforms and were playing their post-season get-together when head coach Mark Ketterer called them to his classroom on Monday.

North Johnston (4-12) was going to the N.C. High School Athletics Association 2A playoffs as a wildcard entry, he told them.

“They were excited to play this game, and Tuesday was one of better practices” Ketterer said.

The Panthers drew a trip to Carrboro (18-2-2), the state’s No. 2 2A team according to, undefeated against 2A team’s ever since losing in last year’s NCHSAA championship game.

No matter, said the Panthers. They braced themselves to play just about the entire game Wednesday in their defensive third and held on tight.

“I thought this was one of our better efforts,” Ketterer said.

Despite an early goal banged in by Caroline Houser, North Johnston weathered a series of shots and was within one goal for the first 35 minutes. The game slipped away a bit after a second goal by Houser and another by twin Emma Houser with 1 minute left in the first half.

Out-shooting the Panthers 35-1 for the game, Carrboro punched in second-half goals by Maura Jones and Sarah Sloan to ice the 5-0 win.

The game ended with 8:15 on the clock as multiple lightning bolts streak down from dark clouds nearby. Every player was out of Carrboro Stadium within 90 seconds.

Ketterer still thought the experience was worthwhile. The Panthers haave been to the playffs in both of his firt two years at North Johnston, and he’s seen interest growing in girls’ soccer, thanks to the success his players have enjoyed.

“Just hearing that these girl were going to the playoffs made other people more interested in playing,” Ketterer said. “I’ve got three or four girls on the team who are new to soccer, just because they heard it talked about last year. It’s a good thing.”

Carrboro’s players were less than electrified, ansd their lack of intensity irrirated Coach Kadlecik.

“I was very disappointed with our performance to be honest,” Kadlecik said. “If we play like that again, we might as well hand in our uniforms.”

Carrboro, which has yet to lose to a 2A school this year, was to host Edenton Holmes (8-9) in the N.C. High School Athletics Assocation playoff’s second round. Holmes defeated Kinston 3-2 in overtime Wednesday.