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STATE WOMEN'S SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS ON SATURDAY AT N.C. STATE
RALEIGH -- Four North Carolina High School Athletic Association women's state soccer championships will be decided this weekend in the 25th annual NCHSAA finals at the Curtis and Jacqueline Dail Soccer Stadium at the Paul Derr Track facility on the campus of North Carolina State University.
Four games are set for Saturday, starting with the 2-A title match at 10 a.m., followed in order by 1-A, 3-A and 4-A finals. This will be the fourth year for a separate 1-A championship since the number of schools playing the sport increased to the threshold for having a separate championship.
All four of the games will be televised by Time Warner Cable and available on Carolina on Demand, digital channel 1234 on Time Warner systems across the state, within a couple of days after the championships.
Saturday's action will start with the 10 a.m. game for the 2-A title between defending champion Swansboro (21-4-1) and unbeaten East Bend Forbush (26-0), a rematch of last year's championship won by Swansboro 2-1 in overtime.
Swansboro is playing in its fourth NCHSAA women's championship, with titles in 2006 and '09, and is led in the attack by leading goal scorers Alana Soetaert, Megan Watson and Breanna Briggs. Forbush, a veteran team with 11 seniors, has recorded 19 shutouts in 26 games.
The 1-A championship is set for 1 p.m., as Southwest Onslow (14-2-2) takes on Avery (20-1-2) in a battle of two schools making their first appearances in an NCHSAA women's soccer final.
Mary Chesnut Smith of Avery was the Western Highlands Conference Player of the Year and leads the Lady Vikings in both goals (33) and assists (28). Mercedes Bentley was the conference Goalkeeper of the Year and has recorded 16 shutouts, including not allowing a goal in the playoffs. Southwest also has posted nine shutouts, three in the postseason, and is paced in scoring by Jeseca Hines with 19 goals.
The third game Saturday is set for a 4 p.m. kickoff for the 3-A championship, sending perennial power Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons (16-4-3) against unbeaten Waxhaw Marvin Ridge (23-0). Gibbons blanked Jacksonville 1-0 and Marvin Ridge rolled past Hickory 5-1 in Wednesday night regional final action.
Gibbons has been winning with defense, with 14 of its 16 wins by shutout with senior Jen Shaefer in goal. Senior all-state midfielder Ashley Aragona (12 goals, 4 assists) and senior forward Toni Lashley (18 goals, 5 assists) lead Marvin Ridge.
The final game of the quadruple header pairs unbeaten Wilmington Hoggard (25-0) against North Mecklenburg (20-3-2).
Hoggard makes its first appearance in an NCHSAA women’s soccer championship and qualified in impressive fashion, as the Vikings beat two-time defending champ Leesville Road 1-0 in the regional final on a sudden-death OT goal by Sarah Clinard. The win by Hoggard snapped Leesville's 61-game unbeaten streak and the Pride had been rated as the top team in the nation in the ESPN Rise rankings. Kristin Busby leads Hoggard's scoring with 28 goals.
North Meck rolled past East Forsyth 5-0 in the Western Regional final Wednesday night to advance to the state championship for the first time. Goalkeeper Emily Rusk has notched 13 shutouts for the Vikings.
The Raleigh Sports Consortium serves as the primary host city partner for the women's soccer championship, along with the Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau. Wendy's is the presenting sponsor for the NCHSAA sports program.
NORTH CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
25th ANNUAL WOMEN'S SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS
CURTIS AND JACQUELINE DAIL SOCCER STADIUM, N.C. STATE UNIVERSITY
SATURDAY, MAY 29, 2010
Class AA: Swansboro (21-4-1) vs. East Bend Forbush (26-0), 10 am
Class A: Southwest Onslow (14-2-2) vs. Avery County (20-1-2), 1 pm
Class AAA: Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons (16-4-3) vs. Waxhaw Marvin Ridge (23-0), 4 pm
Class AAAA: Wilmington Hoggard (25-0)) vs. North Mecklenburg (20-3-2), 7 pm
Event: NCHSAA Women's Soccer Championships
Date: Saturday, May 29, 2010
Site: Curtis and Jacqueline Dail Soccer Stadium, N.C. State University
Game Times: : 10 am, 1 pm, 4 pm and 7 pm on Saturday
Admission: $8 at gate
First Held: 1986
Qualifiers: Eastern and Western champions meet for state titles; 64 schools qualified for playoffs in 3-A and 4-A classifications, 48 in 2-A and 32 in 1-A
Defending champions: Leesville Road (4-A), Jacksonville White Oak (3-A), Swansboro (2-A); Polk County (1-A)
Host City Sponsors: Raleigh Sports Consortium, Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau
Of Interest: Raleigh Broughton with 13 and Greensboro Grimsley with 12 have the most appearances in the NCHSAA women's soccer championships, and no other schools have more than six.