Short-handed West Henderson girls soccer advances to first NCHSAA regional ever
West Henderson was missing part of its flock Thursday night, but the Falcons had more than enough to advance to the NCHSAA 3A Western Regional final for the first time in school history.
No. 2 West Henderson recorded two second-half goals from its leading scorer Marianne Maxon as the Falcons secured the 2-0 victory over No. 3 Lake Norman Charter (19-2-2). Maxon's goals were the 50th and 51st of the season.
Coach Brian Brewer’s club plays for the West Regional championship at No. 1 South Point Tuesday evening.
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The Falcons (23-2) won the fourth-round match despite missing second-leading scorer Emma Chavez. Third-leading scorer Katie Barton went down with an ankle injury in the first half and missed the rest of the half. Barton shook off her injury and played most of the second half.
“I thought we dominated the game for the most part, and we missed some opportunities to score in the first half,” Brewer said. “We played controlled and relaxed throughout the contest and I knew we would finally break through."
Brewer was especially proud of his bench in the fourth-round triumph.
“We subbed a lot more tonight than we usually do but everyone who was called upon played great,” Brewer said. “We’re really beat up right now with some injuries, but we’re also going to the fifth round of the state playoffs.”
The game was scoreless most of the way before the Falcons broke through in the 68th minute. Rhylie Druskis took a pass and had a breakaway toward the Knights’ goal. She got to the box and got a shot off but was fouled in the process. West Henderson was awarded a penalty kick, and everyone in Mills River knew who was going to take the kick.
Maxon stepped up and took her time as she eyed Lake Norman Charter goalkeeper Imani Anzaya. She then buried her shot into the left corner for a 1-0 lead with 12:20 left.
“I wanted to take my time because I knew how big this goal was going to be,” Maxon said. “Lake Norman (Charter) has a great team and this was a chance for us to take control of the game. I decided to go for the left corner and thankfully it went into the goal.”
Maxon and Druskis would team up again to seal the victory five minutes later. Druskis dribbled through the Knights’ defense and her shot just missed, but Maxon was there to tap in the rebound for a 2-0 lead.
The Falcons' defense was superb on the night as the Falcons recorded their 18th shutout of the year.
This article originally appeared on Hendersonville Times-News: West Henderson girls soccer advances to first NCHSAA regional ever