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Carroll, Merritt push Hough to 4A girls’ soccer regional final

By Herb White
Correspondent

CORNELIUS For the fourth straight season, Hough High will play for a spot in the N.C. 4A girls’ soccer championship.

The Huskies advanced to the West Regional final with a 2-0 win Friday against West Forsyth, their 20th shutout of the season and fourth in as many postseason matches. Hough (23-0-2) will host Myers Park, a 3-2 winner against Providence, on Wednesday.

“For us, we hold ourselves to an expectation to make it,” said senior forward Courtney Carroll, who scored her 28th goal and contributed an assist. “It’s not that we are going to make it. We just have to prove to ourselves that we have to. That’s a team expectation.”

Hough, which is trying for a third straight state final berth, took West Forsyth’s best shot early. The Titans (21-3-1) pressed early but couldn’t finish their chances against Hough goalkeeper Marnie Merritt. The Huskies countered with a six-minute burst that produced Sarah Moon’s blast from the left wing during the 32nd minute for her 11th goal of the season off Carroll’s assist and Carroll’s tally in the 38th minute from 10 yards out.

“I thought the first 15 minutes they came out with a lot of energy like they had something to prove,” Hough coach David Smith said of the Titans. “We didn’t expect anything less from them. The second part of the first half, we settled down and got those two goals and maybe could’ve gotten another one before the half.”

Said Carroll, who has committed to Mississippi along with Merritt: “Getting that second goal always gives us a safer lead. In soccer, two goals is always the worst lead to have because it can sneak back up on you, but getting that second goal gives you more cushion.”

Neither side scored during the second half, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. West Forsyth picked up the attack and again had chances to cut the deficit but couldn’t convert as Hough defender Nicole Ferren took on the task of marking the Titans’ best offensive threat, forward Allison Price.

“We had a chance very early,” West Forsyth coach Scott Bilton said. “We’re not the deepest of teams and we struggled to get anything going in the final third.

“We felt that we had a chance to come back, especially with the opportunities we had.”

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