Monday, April 15, 2024

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Western wins at home with first round soccer playoff victory


Eastern, Williams, Clover Garden also advance

By Bob Sutton

Special to The Alamance News

Western Alamance’s Caitlin Cook has endured some pain on the soccer field.

She inflicted a different type of hurt on Orange in the Class 3-A state playoffs.

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Cook’s goal opened the scoring as the Warriors shook off a ragged first half to win 2-0 in the first round Monday night.

“It really got us going and proved we could do it,” Cook said.

Brianna Dale added the second and goalkeeper Mia Sodano kept the Panthers off the scoreboard with stellar second-half work.

Western (17-2-1), the No. 12 seed in the East Region, travels to fifth-seeded First Flight (18-3-1), a 3-1 winner against Lee County, for Thursday’s second round.

The Warriors regrouped at halftime in the first round, and that made a difference against a Central 3-A Conference rival.

“It’s a playoff game and they were freaking out with Orange,” coach Camden Brooks said. “We just needed to settle down, connect the passes and play like we have all year.”

Cook, a junior midfielder who had a concussion earlier in the season, is playing with a broken right wrist. That injury came April 26 in a home game vs. Williams, but it hasn’t caused her to miss action.

“It feels a lot better,” she said.

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Caitlin Cook, a junior midfielder who had a concussion earlier in the season, is playing with a broken right wrist. It didn’t stop her from playing – or scoring Western’s first goal in Monday’s game.

Western charged down the field to begin the second half. Cook took a corner kick, with the ball knocking off Orange’s goalkeeper and landing in the goal just 43 seconds after halftime. It marked Cook’s third goal.

“Put it in the box and you have a chance,” Brooks said.

That sequence also helped the Warriors get in a groove.

“They’re a really good team and we were slow to start in the first half,” Western defender Jenna Standafer said. “We got our old style back.”

Dale’s goal came with 13:22 remaining. She bolted down the right side and launched a shot that reached its intended destination.

Western, with both its losses coming to Eastern Alamance, won 4-1 and 2-0 in the regular season against No. 21 seed Orange (8-9-2).

• At Mebane, Molly Widderich scored four goals to go with three assists as top-seeded Eastern Alamance defeated visiting Croatan 7-0 in Monday night’s first round. The Eagles were a state finalist last year.

That sets up a second-round home game Thursday against fellow Central 3-A Conference member and No. 17 seed Northwood, which topped No. 16 seed Northern Nash 8-2.

Abby Brinker supplied two goals and two assists and Ainsley Dial and Alena Pak also each had a goal for the Eagles (15-0-1), who’ve won every game since a season-opening tie with Chapel Hill. No. 32 seed Croatan dropped to 4-16.

• No. 23 seed Williams won 2-0 at No. 10 seed Fayetteville Sanford (15-5-1) with Olivia Vandre and Claire Wagner scoring goals. Kennedy Bethea had an assist.

The Bulldogs (10-9-2), who’ve won three games in a row, hit the road again for Thursday’s game at seventh-seeded Union Pines (16-7-1).


Class 4-A

No. 31 seed Southern Alamance lost 9-0 on Monday at second-seeded Chapel Hill (19-0-2), which also topped the Patriots 10-1 and 9-0 in DAC-VII Conference play. Southern finished with a 9-12 record.


Class 1-A

At Zebulon, No. 18 seed Clover Garden won 2-1 at No. 15 seed East Wake Academy (2-12). The Grizzlies (6-11-1) move on to meet second-seeded Hobbton (18-1-1), which had a first-round bye, on Thursday.

No. 14 seed River Mill suffered a 3-2 home loss to No. 19 seed Pender (5-14-2). River Mill dropped to 5-12-1.


North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association

Burlington Christian Academy’s season ended with a second-round game Saturday at O’Neal School (14-1), which won 3-0 in Pinehurst.

The Royals (6-6-1) opened the Class 2-A state playoffs by winning 6-1 against visiting Fayetteville Christian last Thursday at Springwood Park. Bailey Cook scored three goals, Ava Cardwell scored twice and Maddie Brinn had a goal in that game.

• The Burlington School began the state playoffs with a 7-2 loss a week ago Tuesday at Neuse Christian despite two goals from Alex Eguren. The Spartans finished with an 1-11 record.

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