Spartans bow out to Greenfield
Kerr-Vance head coach Amy Peralta was glad to be back in the state tournament, but the Spartans wanted to be in Hickory next week — especially having beaten their first round opponent, Greenfield, earlier in the season.
No. 8 KVA fell 3-2 Friday to No. 9 Greenfield, which advanced to the second round of the N.C. Independent School Athletic Association Class 1-A Tournament to meet top-seeded Hickory Christian Academy.
“It meant a lot to me to get back and I think it did to the girls because they’ve never been,” Peralta said of KVA’s first postseason appearance since 2009. “To get to this point was great; I think we had a better team to go one more step.”
Greenfield got the go-ahead goal about 15 minutes into the second half after Claire Dixon won a ball in midfield and dribbled down the right side of the field. The eighth-grader ventured into the penalty area and centered a ball for seventh-grader Eliza Wood, who volleyed in the finish.
The former Coastal Plains Independent Conference rival teams were locked at 2 at halftime.
“I wasn’t expecting to lose after we played them so well the first time,” said Peralta. “It’s disappointing, but I’m glad we made it into the first round.”
KVA went up early on Nicole Dunkley’s goal, assisted by Riley Short.
The Spartans drew level late in the opening half when Short set up Bryles Cutts’ lofting strike from the left, too tall for the Greenfield goalkeeper.
Greenfield has 10 middle school players on its roster and KVA has three middle school players on a squad led by the senior class of Cutts, Cassidy Tucker, Price Wester, and injured Rebecca Ross.
Dunkley, Short and goalkeeper Holly Steg each are in eighth grade.
Peralta said Holly had a nice season, her first in goal.
“I’m really excited about Riley and Nicole both,” added Peralta. “They’re as close to true soccer players as we have. They both play soccer just about year-round.”
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