High School Sports

Apex girls soccer punches ticket to playoffs by beating Middle Creek

With a playoff spot on the line, a young Apex girls soccer team stepped up against Southwest 4A Conference rival Middle Creek to take a 2-1 win in the regular season finale for both teams.

The Cougars (9-9-1, 9-6-1) and Mustangs (8-5-6, 6-5-5) entered the game tied for third place in the league, meaning the winner would get the conference’s third playoff berth. Middle Creek has a good enough overall record to get in the playoffs as a wildcard, but Apex may have had to win to play in the first round next week.

“It was really nerve-wracking the whole game, knowing getting into the playoffs was all up to this game,” said Apex sophomore Sophie Coleman, whose second half goal proved to be the game winner. “We went into the game knowing we had to win.”

It was a disappointing loss in a game of opportunities for coach Guy Coleman’s Middle Creek squad, whose team controlled possession early and had a flurry of shots and chances in the closing minutes but could not get the ball in the net.

“We knew we were going to get in the playoffs, but this is a game we wanted to win,” coach Coleman said. “We won possessions but struggled to finish and that’s the way we’ve played late in the season.”

Veteran Apex coach Kevin Todd has his team in the playoffs for the first time in three years and he’s happy for his three seniors, Amy Bounds, Danielle Fiorito, and Maddie Uenking.

“It was senior day and those three seniors played every minute in this game and played well,”coach Todd said. “But overall we’re a young team and this game was a good experience. It was like playing in a playoff game.”

Three to know

Kylie McIlroy, Middle Creek: She got the Mustangs on the board on a hard shot that was too hot for a Cougars defender to keep out of the goal. The junior made the score 2-1 and it stayed that way the last 20 minutes of the game.

Sara Moushegian, Apex: The freshman got the first goal of the game off a pass from the left wing by sophomore Carolne Uenking.

Sophie Coleman, Apex: From just outside the box she was able to control the ball in traffic and put her team ahead 2-0 eight minutes into the second half. “The ball popped out, I was able to get a touch and shot and it went in,” Coleman said.

They said it

“Knowing the pressure of needing to win, and having to persevere in some tough situations against Middle Creek when they were rallying, the girls played very well,” Apex coach Kevin Todd said.

What worked

Both coaches were pleased with the defensive efforts.

“My defense played well with goalkeeper Carolne Lauer, and defenders Sarah Hedgecock and Grace Kennedy all making nice plays,” Mustangs coach Coleman said.

“MacKenzie Roach and Maddie Uenking controlled the back for us,” Apex coach Todd said. “Everytime Middle Creek came down and attacked the middle, they were there with keeper Alexa Skrinak.”