Vance County nabs win in final game of the season

May 10—HENDERSON — The Vance County Lady Vipers finally pulled one off, winning their final game of the season by one goal on a thrilling penalty kick from Maria Dominguez-Galvez.

Locked in a scoreless game with Oxford Prep for most of the contest, Vance County needed a goal — and a win — to cap their season off on a positive note.

The Vipers had been struggling with consistency in their offense and lacked any sort of fundamentals: spacing, dribbling, stopping the ball — sometimes, they show flashes of talented moments but the coaching staff wants to see more from them next year.

Allisson Lira received a goal-scoring opportunity late in the first half with a free kick from just outside the box. The freshman curved a shot around the wall but the Griffins goalkeeper stopped it easily.

At the start of the second half, junior midfielder Lisa Hayes saw her own opportunity when she was wide open in the attacking third but she couldn't convert and the game remained tied.

With 26 minutes left in the game, the Vipers committed a handball penalty in their own box, leading to a penalty shot for the Griffins.

For a moment, it looked like déjà vu from the game against South Granville earlier in the year where they lost on a last-minute handball call in the box. Luckily for the Vipers, they avoided a repeat of that disaster as this penalty kick was sent right at the center of the goal for an easy save for Mia Ponce to keep the game tied 0-0.

A solid save from Oxford Prep's goalie galvanized the Griffins' defense, and then a series of big-time stops negated the Vipers' momentum once again.

Then, with eight minutes left in the game, the Vipers finally got their break.

On a make-or-break penalty kick after a series of failed offensive possessions, Maria Dominguez-Galvez stepped up to take the kick late in the final game of the season.

Once the whistle sounded, Dominguez-Galvez approached the ball and drained the shot calmly and confidently into the right side of the net for the game-winning goal — before doing her best Ronaldo impersonation in celebration.

"I knew I was going to go right, but I had to confuse her," said Dominguez-Galvez. "I kept looking at the left [side] but I went right."

Before the ball even went into the goal, Dominguez-Galvez started to celebrate, and after the game, she said she knew the ball was going in from the moment it left her foot.

"I do this all my life," she said.

Next season, Dominguez-Galvez said fans can expect her to be better, faster, and stronger as she continues to grow as a young footballer. She also said she plans on joining the cross-country team to improve her running ability.

As one of the best players on the team, Dominguez-Galvez said she will work with her team and improve on being a leader as she moves into her second year.

With the win, the Vance County Vipers finish seventh in the conference with a regular season record of 5-15-1. Hopefully, with more experience under their belt, the Vipers can make a better run next year and maybe even earn an appearance in the state playoffs.

But for now, players will get a few weeks off from soccer before returning to the pitch in June to start offseason training.

STATSMaria Dominguez-Galvez (Fr.) — 1 goal