CORNELIUS Myers Park finally ended Hough High’s girls soccer team’s run of shutouts through the NCHSAA state playoffs.
However, the Huskies kept another – and vitally more important – streak alive, beating the Mustangs 2-1 in sudden-death overtime on Tuesday night for their third consecutive 4A Western regional championship.
Alex Denny’s header in the mouth of the goal with 1 minute, 14 seconds remaining in the second and final sudden-death overtime period gives Hough (24-0-2) a shot at its second 4A state championship.
The Huskies, who won the 4A state title in 2012, will play Panther Creek for the championship in Raleigh on Saturday. Game time is 8 p.m. at N.C. State’s Dial Stadium.
Anna Roach also scored for Hough, punching in a penalty kick in the second half of regulation that tied the score 1-1 and eventually sent the game into four overtime periods – two 10-minute halves, then two more five-minute sudden death periods.
Denny’s game winner was set up by a corner kick, with Nicole Duncan’s shot first deflected by Myers Park goalkeeper Elizabeth Raby. But the deflection was headed back towards the goal by Huskies forward Courtney Carroll, with Denny heading in Carroll’s shot past Raby.
Myers Park (23-3), playing for a chance at its first-ever trip to the state championship game, had never beaten the Huskies in six tries, including a pair of 1-0 losses this season.
But after a scoreless first half, the Mustangs ended Hough’s run of playoff shutouts on Virginia McNeill’s close-in goal with 6:35 remaining in the second half. A corner kick gave Myers Park the opportunity, and after a series of deflections, McNeill punched it past Huskies goalkeeper Marnie Merritt from less than 10 yards out with 6:35 remaining.
However, it didn’t take long for Hough to respond – Carroll was drug down inside the penalty box on a breakaway, setting up Roach’s penalty kick. She put it into the lower right corner of the net, just past Raby’s outstretched hand, with 6:10 left to tie the score at 1-1.
Merritt had 13 saves for Hough, while Raby made 11 saves for Myers Park.
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