The South Mecklenburg girls’ soccer team scored in the first minute of play and twice more in the second half to beat Southwestern 4A rival Providence High 3-1 Tuesday at home.
Both teams came into the game undefeated and ranked in the 4A state coaches poll, Providence (4-1) at No. 5 and South Meck (4-0) at No. 8.
It’s the Sabres’ second win against a state-ranked team this year.
South Meck senior Nicki Maalizadeh scored the early goal for South Meck to give them a 1-0 lead in the first minute.
“We scored an early goal but I don’t think it gave us as much momentum as you would think because as soon as we scored they were all over us,” said South Meck head coach Eric White. “But it was great to get an early goal because Providence is really good and any time you get a one goal cushion that early it’s a big deal.”
Providence controlled the ball for much of the rest of the half. The Panthers leveled the score when sophomore Ellie Deaver headed in a corner kick by junior Megan Gray with 17:45 left in the half.
The game was tied 1-1 at halftime.
White wasn’t happy with the way his team was taking care of the ball in the first half.
“I feel like in the first half we were a little slow getting to the ball and I think they were outworking us,” said White. “We had a long talk at halftime about team defending and that’s something we work on and put a lot of pride in. Second half we were able to put a lot more pressure on the ball.”
South Meck took a 2-1 lead with 21 minutes, 30 seconds left in the second half when freshman Farrah Jordi cut in front of the goal near the top of the penalty area and sent the ball into the top right corner of the net.
With 11 minutes left in the game, South Meck was awarded a penalty kick after a Providence foul in the box.
Maalizadeh converted on the kick, rolling the ball low and left of the goalkeeper for her second goal of the game to give South Meck a 3-1 lead.
South Meck opened the season with a 4-3 win against 3A No. 10 Charlotte Catholic and beat Ardrey Kell for the first time 1-0 last week.