One after another, seemingly without end, Fuquay-Varina and Leesville Road traded penalty kicks to decide the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A girls soccer East final on Tuesday.
Fuquay's first PK was stopped.
The next seven were not.
And Fuquay-Varina is back in the state title game for the second time in program history, and first since 1999. The Bengals and Pride were tied 2-2 after regulation, a 20-minute overtime split into two halves and two five-minute golden goal periods before Fuquay defeated Leesville 7-6 on PKs.
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Fuquay is now 13 of 14 on PKs in the playoffs, having needed them to defeat Wilmington's Laney High in the third round.
"The girls, I think mentally, were there," coach Nick Acosta said. "We're going to work. We're going to fight. Sometimes, maybe we're not the best technically, but our girls are going to give you their best every time.
The Bengals (17-4-2) took a 1-0 lead into halftime after a 20th minute corner kick from Trinity Davis crossed the goal mouth after deflecting off a player from Leesville Road (20-2-1).
Leesville leveled the match in the 50th minute as Reagan Norvell was the first to get to rebound following Jordin Mosley's 25-yard strike that hit the crossbar. Like Fuquay's first goal, it too barely crossed the goal mouth before being cleared away.
Just two minutes later, Fuquay scored a stunner. Grace Naylor sent a long ball from near midfield into the box, where only Katelyn Laux and one defender were waiting. Laux won the ball in midair and headed it into goal for a 2-1 lead.
Leesville's drew even in the 66th minute as Kristy Campbell drew a penalty as the Fuquay-Varina goalkeeper was given a yellow card for tripping in the box. Jordin Mosley drilled the penalty kick.
"I can't fault my girls in any way," coach Paul Dinkenor said. "We played well, we practiced superbly and they were a great team to be with. I just feel back for my seniors that we're not moving on."
▪ In the 4A West, Pinecrest's best postseason run ended with a 2-1 loss in Charlotte to Myers Park High. The host No. 1 Mustangs (21-0-1) scored two second half goals to lead 2-0 before the No. 3 Patriots (25-2-3) answered in the 59th minute on a 30-yard blast by Natalie Sabiston to make it interesting.
“It definitely helps making the (West) final and we made history at our school,” said Pinecrest senior defender Kelly Clark. “Just being part of that is something I can tell my kids in the future.”
“I thought we dominated," said Patriots coach Corey Rice. "I thought there were opportunities where balls bounced the right way; and Myers Park did a good job of taking advantage of those opportunities, and they finished well,”
▪ Chapel Hill is going back to the state championship for the first time since 2014 after edging Jacksonville in overtime, 2-1.
The Tigers fell behind with 30 minutes to go — it was just the second goal they've allowed all year — but scored with just 5 minutes and 17 seconds left in regulation on a long kick that deflected off a Jacksonville player and into the net to force the extra period.
No. 2 Chapel Hill (18-1-1) scored in the first of two mandatory 10-minute halves of overtime when Avery Look put the Tigers up, for the first time on the night, for good.
▪ The three-time defending 2A state champion Carrboro Jaguars finished just short of reaching the title game for a fourth straight season. Carrboro fell 4-0 to First Flight High in Kill Devil Hills on Tuesday. The Jaguars end this season 17-6 overall.
▪ Franklin Academy’s girls soccer players drained their rain-soaked home field by hand with plastic cups and then the Patriots scooped up a 5-3 victory over Raleigh Charter Tuesday in the NCHSAA 1A girls soccer East final.
Franklin Academy started quickly with leads of 3-0 and then 4-1 at halftime. Once Raleigh Charter trimmed the deficit to 4-2 midway through the second half, freshman Grayson Kelly added an insurance goal for a 5-2 lead with 18:15 to play. Kelly and Ashlyn Stephan scored two goals each and Kennedy Capps added one for the Patriots. Raleigh Charter's Emery Hill, Serena Spitz and Emma Casey scored once each.
"It rained just before we played so we had to pick up everything, all the rain, with (plastic) cups by ourselves," said Grayson Kelly, who, like her team, left the field in a mud-splattered all-white uniforms.
▪ Fuquay-Varina took game one of the best-of-three 4A East series on Tuesday with an 11-1 win against conference rival Apex in six innings.
Tucker Jackson had an RBI single for Apex.
The two teams finished second and fifth in the South Wake Athletic Conference, but the league didn't lose a single nonconference game in the first four rounds of these playoffs. Fuquay won the regular-season meetings 9-0 and 9-2.
Game 2 will be 5 p.m. Thursday at Green Level High, the host school of Apex for this year and the next while the main Apex campus is undergoing renovations. Game 3, if necessary, is Friday night at Fuquay-Varina.
▪ North Lenoir will visit Whiteville on Wednesday in the first game of the 2A East series.
▪ The fourth round is complete in almost all classifications.
D.H. Conley was eliminated by Western Alamance 7-2, setting up a 3A East final series between the No. 2 Warriors and No. 5 Cleveland. The Rams punched their ticket with a 3-2 win at top-seeded West Brunswick on Friday.
In the 1A West, No. 2 Chatham Central fell 3-0 to No. 3 Alleghany County.
▪ But one game was delayed for a fourth consecutive available day.
In 2A, No. 1 South Granville, which has won the last three 2A East titles and two of the last three state championships, has yet to play No. 4 Whiteville. The two teams were unable to play Friday or Saturday, were rained out again on Monday, then tried to move their game off South Granville's campus to Carrboro on Tuesday before it too was postponed.
Whenever that playoff series is decided, the winner will face No. 2 North Johnston in a three-game series.
▪ Meanwhile, the East final series is already underway in 1A, where No. 2 Louisburg topped No. 4 Camden County 2-1 on a walk-off solo home run by Abigail Fagan in an 11-inning Game 1.
Game 2 is set for Thursday at Camden County, and Game 3, if necessary, is Saturday at Louisburg.
▪ The 4A East final series begins on Wednesday with No. 2 South Central hosting No. 8 Jack Britt. Game 2 is Friday at Jack Britt and Game 3, if necessary, is Saturday at South Central.
NCISAA 2A baseball
Faith Christian of Rocky Mount repeated its state championship with a 7-5 win in a winner-take-all title game against Greensboro's Caldwell Academy. The game, originally scheduled as a three-game series at Gaston Day, was started Monday at North Raleigh Christian and was completed at Faith Christian (20-7) on Tuesday.