High School Sports

Clayton girls soccer team leaps to stop streak, tops West Johnston

Clayton’s Everett Biggs (19) attempts a shot on goal but is stopped by West Johnston defender Alexis Kinney (3) and keeper Hannah Stephenson (12).
Clayton’s Everett Biggs (19) attempts a shot on goal but is stopped by West Johnston defender Alexis Kinney (3) and keeper Hannah Stephenson (12). newsobserver.com

Clayton’s girls soccer team wanted to jump ahead after Monday night’s big 4-1 victory over rival West Johnston. But their coach wouldn’t let them.

“They wanted to start chanting 14-0, but we will not do that until we get to 14-0,” said Clayton coach William Williams. “We’re 7-0. It’s a great start, a great place to be. But we have to remember we haven’t done anything yet.”

The win, Clayton’s first over West Johnston since 2011, left the Comets (9-2 overall and ranked 12th in the N&O poll) alone at the top of the Greater Neuse River 4A Conference with a 7-0 mark.

West (6-5 overall) fell to 5-2 in the league. Garner also had only one league loss (to Clayton) entering Monday night.

The Comets scored their four goals after falling behind 1-0 in the first half, with all of the offense – in some way – going through freshman Hannah Mills. Mills scored a goal and assisted on the other three Clayton tallies.

“She has really added something,” Williams said. “I knew she could probably help us, but I left her on the junior varsity squad because we couldn’t practice at the start of the season. But her learning curve hasn’t been long. She really stepped up tonight.

“To put up three assists and a goal against a team like West Johnston, that’s not easy.”

Clayton got even just two minutes after the Wildcats’ goal, then controlled the flow of play throughout the second half.

Kaylee Wilson, Nicole Guerrero and Lauren Daniels tallied the other Comet goals on the evening.

“You have to have great play from your midfield to beat a team like West Johnston,” Williams said. “And we had that tonight, a lot of times with three freshmen in the middle of the field.

“And we were solid defensively. The girls did a good job of taking themselves out when they knew they needed a break and it helped us in the second half.”

The Comets have only allowed one goal through their first seven conference matches with Logan Jancuska in goal

On the opposite side of the field, the Wildcats played without two starters across its back line, forcing some lineup juggling.

West notched the game’s first goal 24 minutes in when after a counter attack, Mallory Barton sent a ball across the penalty area that gave teammate Robin Pollard a basically open half of a goal against Jancuska.

But the Comets’ midfield and defense would make most of the rest of Jancuska’s night simple, limiting the Wildcats’ solid scoring chances the rest of the way.

“When we gave up the tying goal, I think it shook us some,” said West coach Reid Byrd. “We got in a hurry up mode and didn’t get a lot of quality shots on goal. We took way too many shots outside of the 18 tonight.”

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