RALEIGH— Senior midfielder Abby Rhodes scored the game winning goal in the 63rd minute on Saturday night to lift Raleigh Charter to a 2-1 victory over Kernersville Bishop McGuinness in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state 1-A women's soccer championship game at Dail Soccer Field at North Carolina State University.
Rhodes headed in the winning goal from about the six off a perfect service from Grace Nipp to give the Phoenix a lead it would not relinquish. Nipp, who had the assist on the game winner and was very active in the attacking third, creating quality scoring opportunities, was named the championship Most Valuable Player. She ended the season with a whopping 45 goals and 22 assists.
After a scoreless first half, freshman Mary Kay Walsh put Bishop McGuinness on the board in the first 1:33 of the second half. Walsh scored her 29th goal of the year to put the Lady Villains up 1-0, following up a rebound off her own missed shot and drilling it home.
The Phoenix tied it just over 12 minutes later on a goal by junior midfielder Rachel Erickson with an assist from Hana Chabinsky.
Bishop had 11 shots on the game to 10 for Raleigh Charter, with the Phoenix earning three corner kicks to two for Bishop.
Raleigh Charter finished an unbeaten campaign with a 20-0-1 record, while Bishop McGuinness ended its year at 17-8-1, although its entire 10-game non-conference slate was against higher classification teams, including 4-A squads.
Raleigh Charter made its fourth trip to the NCHSAA state women’s soccer finals with a 1-2 mark in previous championships. Bishop was in its second finals appearance, as the Villains lost to Raleigh Charter in the 2007 final by a 3-0 score.
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 1-A WOMEN'S SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP
Dail Soccer Field, N.C. State University
Kernersville Bishop McGuinness 0 1—1
Raleigh Charter 0 2—2
42nd minute BG—Mary Kay Walsh
53th minute RC—Rachel Erickson (Hana Chabinsky)
63rd minute RC—Abby Rhodes (Grace Nipp)