The Princeton girls soccer team prevailed with a 1-0 victory over Neuse Charter on a goal by Princeton senior Madison Adkins in the 80th and final minute.
“I felt like it was going over so when it went in I was ecstatic,” said Adkins.
This was the second 1-0 victory for Princeton (8-6, 6-3) over Neuse Charter (4-7-1, 3-5) this week as the two teams played four days prior with the same result. In their first victory, a first half goal by Princeton freshman Veronica Blackman proved to be the difference.
This game was a much closer contest as both sides had a few opportunities that did not connect to shots on goal. The best chance for either team in the first half came in the 12th minute on a pass from Neuse Charter freshman Dargan Harris to freshman Tristan Haines.
Harris floated the pass through the back line of the Princeton defense and it fell to a footrace between Haines and Princeton goalkeeper Hannah Horne. Both players collided and Horne ended up on the ground. Haines, still standing, tapped the ball in the back of the net from 10 feet out but a foul was called and the goal was negated.
The rest of the first half was mostly spent in the middle of the field, both sides trying to gain possession over the other. At half, the score was tied 0-0.
The second half provided much of the same as the teams had equal possession and a few small opportunities. Haines had two breakaway chances in the middle of the second half but was denied by two great sliding saves by Horne.
As the game dwindled down to the last five minutes, Princeton was able to maintain possession on their side of the field. They got a few shots directed near the goal but were not able to capitalize.
With one minute left in the game, Princeton sophomore Rachel Creech dribbled the ball from the right corner towards the middle of the field. She tapped a pass towards Adkins, who was standing just outside of the box on the right side of the field. Adkins was open and she lifted a ball that went just over the hands of the Neuse Charter goalkeeper and deep into the right corner of the goal with just 17 seconds left.
The win gave Princeton their third straight victory and puts them just one game behind second place in the Carolina 1A conference.
“We’ve improved immensely,” said Princeton head coach Thomas Pilkington. “I’m playing six freshmen in significant roles throughout the year, three sophomores and only two seniors. The improvement I’ve seen from the early nonconference losses to now has been wonderful.”
This is the second shutout for Princeton in the last week and a lot of the credit for the defensive performances goes to the Princeton center backs.
“Our two center backs (juniors Jasmine Rubio and Hayden Hinson) contributed fantastically trying to hold that back line together and communicating as well as our goalkeeper Hannah Horne giving up her body on multiple occasions to make the save,” Pilkington said.
That defense was able to stymie Neuse Charter, who suffered their fifth loss in a row in heartbreaking fashion.
“We played good 39 minutes in the second half,” said Neuse Charter head coach Jonathan Gaskins. “Offensively we had multiple opportunities but they went out there and gave their heart out for the team.”
Neuse Charter had a few chances on breakaway attempts throughout the game but could not convert them into goals.
“When they were getting ready to take the shot they had some bad touches,” said Gaskins. “A one-touch shot is really what we need to improve on.”