Green Hope’s undefeated girls soccer team couldn’t make its undefeated run without any of its contributors.
One one day it’s Taylor Cammarata leading the way as the catalyst in midfield. On other nights it’s Grace Wagner’s leadership, or Bailey Petersen’s play on defense, or Lily Dunn’s last-second saves.
The four captains exemplify a winning formula that has needed all of its parts as the Falcons (21-0) headed into the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A girls soccer playoffs on Friday with a home game against Wilmington’s Laney High (17-4-1).
“We are a more of a team than we ever have been, and I think that’s what I’m most proud of,” said Falcons coach Stacy Ruth Lamb.
Green Hope is not your typical undefeated team. The Falcons have outscored teams 86-13 but only had a few blowout victories. For the most part, against Southwest Wake Athletic Conference opponents, they’ve had to battle.
“That’s the defining characteristic of our group this year and that is to find a way,” Lamb said.
Green Hope, which won the 2013 state title when this year’s seniors were in eighth grade, was ousted in the second round last year in an upset loss to Sanderson. That helped shift priorities for everyone.
Wagner – whose older sister Claire now plays for the area’s new pro team, the North Carolina Courage – leads her team in goals (20) and assists (15). But in order to set the tone as a leader, she has not made either a priority.
“I’ve learned it’s not about the goals, it’s just about helping the team win,” Wagner said. “It’s hard for me this year to be as successful this year as I was last year, but I know that if the team wins, then I win. It’s really putting in all my hard work and effort for the team.”
Her coach has taken notice. “That speaks volumes to her character and her ability to lead by example. That’s Grace at heart. You hope you get players like Grace,” Lamb said.
For this special season, it seems they’ve got more than a few.