Cox Mill girls’ soccer stays ahead of conference game
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Tuesday, May. 13, 2014

Cox Mill girls’ soccer stays ahead of conference game

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/09/10/31/1382Fe.Em.138.jpeg|238
    - BUREN FOSTER PHOTOGRAPHY
    Cox Mill goalkeeper Katie Brinkley is the only senior to return from last year’s Charger squad. The school also hired a new coach, Kellie Pierrot, to lead the team this year.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/09/10/31/iaacB.Em.138.jpeg|473
    - BUREN FOSTER PHOTOGRAPHY
    Freshman Mary Perkins is a dangerous left-footed scorer for Cox Mill. The team’s only two losses have been to nonconference foes.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/09/10/31/byIvQ.Em.138.jpeg|383
    - BUREN FOSTER PHOTOGRAPHY
    Junior midfielder Christine Rolfes is one of Cox Mill’s offensive leaders. Since the team’s last loss on March 10, the Chargers have won all 15 of their games by at least a five-goal margin and have been scored on only twice.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/09/10/31/sgOJh.Em.138.jpeg|449
    - BUREN FOSTER PHOTOGRAPHY
    Freshman Madison Greenhall is an important part of the Cox Mill offense. The team is undefeated in conference play through 15 games.
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In Cabarrus County high school sports, the abbreviation “SPC” usually stands for South Piedmont Conference. But this spring, the Cox Mill girls’ soccer team have given SPC a new meaning: the Second Place Chase.

The Chargers have been so impressive in their sweep of South Piedmont opponents that the other seven teams in the conference can, at best, only finish in second place. Not only is Cox Mill (16-2 through May 8) undefeated through its first 15 SPC contests, it has outscored opponents in those games by a combined score of 125-2.

This week, the Chargers open play in the 3A state playoffs. Cox Mill’s only two losses have been to nonconference foes. Entering a May 9 game at Carson, the Chargers had won 15 in a row.

“The season is going very well,” said coach Kellie Pierrot. “The girls know what we’ve been working on. The girls are connecting their passes, talking with one another and showing support for one another. We have a talented team.”

People in the Cox Mill camp never would have predicted how well this season has turned out. There were too many uncertainties about the team just three months ago.

Cox Mill has established a solid – though brief – history in girls’ soccer since the school opened in 2009. The Chargers won conference championships in 2011 and 2012.

But Cox Mill slipped to second place last year, finishing behind Jay M. Robinson. Only one senior, goalkeeper Katie Brinkley, returned from last year’s squad.

And for the third time in three years, Cox Mill had to hire a new coach. Pierrot landed her first high school coaching job when she was tabbed to lead the Chargers last summer.

“I had high expectations,” said Pierrot. “I knew in tryouts we had a talented team. I didn’t know how the conference would be. It’s paying off to see how we are performing.”

Cox Mill opened the season with a 5-2 loss to Marvin Ridge, a team whose strong reputation was known even by Pierrot. The Mavericks have won at least nine games in each of the past three seasons and are regular state playoff participants.

Pierrot considered the loss a learning experience. She liked her team’s effort and feels that Cox Mill would be more competitive if the teams meet again.

After an easy win over league foe East Rowan, Cox Mill was clipped 2-1 by Cannon School, one of the best private school teams in the state. Since that loss on March 10, the Chargers have won all 15 of their games by at least a five-goal margin and have been scored on only twice.

“At first, we had the rush of it all, winning by the scores that we did,” said Brinkley, the lone senior who is affectionately known as the team’s “mother figure” by some teammates. “It’s exciting to tell everyone at school. But more recently we’ve focused on going to the playoffs and knowing it’s going to be harder.”

Brinkley doesn’t face many shots, thanks to the defense of players like sophomore Kat Laughlin and freshman Sally Calloway, who has enough ball-handling skills to often lead an offensive attack.

Among Cox Mill’s offensive leaders is hardworking junior Christine Rolfes. She is joined at midfield by two freshmen: Mary Perkins, a dangerous left-footed scorer, and the fleet-footed Madison Greenhall. Freshman forward Jaden Baughman is a determined scorer.

Pierrot has stressed hard work and crisp execution, no matter what the score is. She believes that will prepare her team for the state playoffs, where the competition may be stiffer.

“No matter what the score of the game is, we stress the areas we need to work on,” said Pierrot. “We will harp on … doing things the right way, which will make things the easiest. The girls are aware of what’s going to come in the playoffs. They have been working hard all season and are making sure they are ready.”

Joe Habina is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Joe? Email him at joehabina@yahoo.com.

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