(NCHSAA photo is Panther Creek on the attack, courtesy P.J. Ward)
PANTHER CREEK BLANKS PROVIDENCE IN NCHSAA STATE 4-A WOMEN'S SOCCER FINAL
RALEIGH— A strong defense and opportunistic offense helped lift Cary Panther Creek to a 2-0 victory over Charlotte Providence in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state 4-A women's soccer championship game Saturday at Dail Soccer Field at North Carolina State University.
Sophomore fullback Meredith Hamby, who scored the opening goal of the game, was selected as the championship Most Valuable Player.
The Catamounts opened the scoring in the 29th minute when Hamby executed a neat one-touch goal from the top of the box after a nice feed from Emma Socha to make it 1-0.
Panther Creek then upped the advantage to 2-0 with a little more than 15 minutes to play when senior striker Justine James rifled a shot from dead center well outside the box and it found the upper 90, off an assist from Brianna Velasquez.
The Catamount defense, which yielded only six goals all season long, was stellar throughout, as Panther Creek outshot Providence 11-4. Celeste Barnard, with the shutout in goal for the winners, made two saves, although Providence had some opportunities and had four corner kicks to just one for the Catamounts.
Panther Creek closed the season with an unbeaten record, going 20-0-2, while Providence finished at 23-2-1.
The Catamounts were in the state championship for the second consecutive year, having lost to Cornelius Hough 1-0 in sudden death in last year’s 4-A final. Providence was in the finals for the fourth time, now with a 1-3 mark in previous championships which includes a 1997 4-A crown.
The Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance serves as the primary host city partner for the women's soccer championship.
NORTH CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
STATE 4-A WOMEN'S SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP
Dail Soccer Field, N.C. State University
Charlotte Providence 0 0—0
Cary Panther Creek 1 1—2
29th minute PC—Meredith Hamby (Emma Socha)
65th minute PC—Justine James (Brianna Velasquez)