Lady Falcons Cruise Past Parkwood to Reach Semifinals
Parkwood entered the match as another Cinderella team trying to make some noise in the NCHSAA 2A playoffs. Unfortunately for the Rebels, the Falcons were not interested in fairy tales.
The Rebels held the Falcon offense for about 25 minutes on hustle and grit. Several chances were turned away by desperation tackles or booming clearances, but as the half wore on the Rebels couldn't keep up the pace. Olivia Davis got the Falcons on the board as she and the center back met at the ball near the top of the 18-yard box. The center back tried to clear the ball, but Davis got her foot in to tackle the ball away. As the ball squirted backward, Davis found herself one-on-one with the keeper. Keeping her composure, Davis calmly placed the ball to the keeper's right to make the score 1-0 in favor of the Falcons. Davis had nearly scored minutes earlier on a near-post run that resulted in her header dinging off the goal post.
The goal dropped the heads of the Rebels momentarily. The Falcons looked like sharks sensing blood in the water. Nancy Rios worked the ball into the left corner over and over, keeping pressure on the Rebel defense. With less than ten minutes to go in the first half, Macey York received a cross near the penalty spot. The defender over ran the play which allowed York to get back to her right foot. Once there, York wasn't going to miss as she blasted the ball into the back of the net.
Going into halftime it was pretty clear that the Falcons were in control. The Rebels had mounted a couple of attacks down the right side of the field, but their final ball into the box wasn't dangerous enough to cause concern.
Starting the second half, the Rebels came out like a team that had nothing to lose. A couple of runs got in behind the Falcon defense and ended up creating chances on goal. Jessica Funk rose to the challenge each time as she was aggressive off her line. Samantha Foster and Anna Reavis won ball after ball in the air to prevent the direct play of the Rebels from causing a problem.
The Falcons put another nail in the coffin as a scrum in front of goal garnered the third goal for the Falcons. A relentless Anna Kathryn Kilby was able to get enough of her foot on the ball to push it into the goal to make the score 3-0. As the Rebels continued to take risks it gave the appearance that the game was on an even playing field. In reality though, the game was just opening up more for the Falcon offense.
Shannon Holden recorded the final tally as she curled a one-timer into the side net to squash any hopes of a miracle comeback. In the end, it was another clean sheet for Jessica Funk and another victory for the Lady Falcons as they march on to the Final Four.
The Franklin Panthers upset Lake Norman Charter (#1 seed in the West), giving the Falcons home field advantage for the semifinal match. The Franklin Panthers are the #5 seed out of the West with a 17-3-1 record on the season.
Last year, the Falcons and Panthers met early in the NCHSAA playoffs. Forbush made the trip to Franklin and came away with a 6-1 win. The Panthers have 26 players on their roster, and return senior defender Lexi Kloeppel and senior midfielder Gracie Hornsby as captains.
The match between Franklin and Forbush is scheduled for Tuesday at 7pm in Falcon stadium. If the Falcons win they will meet either Carrboro or Dixon in the final match. Come out and support the women's soccer team as they push forward in an effort to make the Championship finals.
The Falcons are happy to have Paige Keaton back on the field full-time. Nursing an injury during the regular season, Keaton has added more experience to the Falcon back line during the playoffs. A back line that has not allowed a single goal in four playoff games.
Freshman, Samantha Foster and Senior, Anna Reavis play side-by-side in the back for the Falcons. Both are a physical presence in the back with the ability to win everything in the air. Teams that play direct run into a wall in the middle of the Falcon defense.
Calyn Davis came on midway through the first half, and kept the pressure on the Rebel defense with some crafty through balls to the on-rushing Macey York. The depth of the Falcon attack is a real bonus this time of year as the opposition seems to wear down over the course of a half.