West Johnston exploded for five second-half goals to race past Lumberton, 7-3, in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A girls soccer playoffs Wednesday night.
The Wildcats (17-4-1) got two goals in the first half from Kori Lawrence and two each from Robin Pollard and Taylor Dorsey in the second to set up a second-round home game against Heritage, a 4-0 winner against Overhills, on Friday night.
Fabiola Martinez also added a goal, Dorsey had two assists and Pollard and Lawrence each assisted on goals for West Johnston.
Lumberton (10-9-1) got two goals from Brooke Taylor and a goal from Brittany Ward.
“I didn’t know anything about (Lumberton) coming in, except that their record was comparable, and the teams they’ve played were comparable to the teams we’ve played,” West Johnston coach Luke Waddell said. “It’s a good result. I’m happy.”
The two teams traded punches in the first half, with Lumberton opening the scoring in the 21st minute. In the next two minutes, Lawrence would find the back of the net twice to put the Wildcats back on top.
Still, with a heavy advantage in possession and shots, Waddell wasn’t thrilled with the 2-2 score line at the half.
“We couldn’t find the frame,” he said. “I think the shots at halftime were like 15-4 in favor of us and we only had three on target. … The only way we could go was up in the second half, and that’s what happened.”
Immediately after the opening whistle for the second half, Martinez put West Johnston back in front with a nice finish from near the top of the box, thanks to an assist from Dorsey.
Six minutes later, Dorsey added goal No. 4, scoring on a flicked header after a cross from Lawrence.
Pollard scored her 196th and 197th career goals for the Wildcats in the 59th and 62nd minutes, and after a Taylor goal made it 6-3, Dorsey tacked on the final goal in the game’s final minute.
Next up for the Wildcats is a date with Heritage, and Pollard knows the challenge her team is facing.
“This will be our hardest game,” she said. “They should be the strongest team we’ve faced all season, so we’ll really have to pick it up and basically play our best game.”