Myers Park’s nationally ranked girls’ soccer team has outscored opponents 103-3 and is barreling toward what could be the school’s first N.C. High School Athletic Association state championship appearance.
But that’s not what longtime coach Bucky McCarley is most proud of.
“One of the things that’s most fun, having been around long enough,” McCarley said, “is that you get alumni who come back, and the one thing I told the alumni was...they would be proud of this team and how they act and treat each other.
“They understand they’re carrying on a legacy of how a team should behave and how it acts, and past Myers Park soccer players would be very proud to come to a training session here and feel right at home.”
The Mustangs are 17-1-2 and will play the only team to beat them this season, nationally ranked West Forsyth (23-1-1), Friday night in Clemmons, just outside of Winston-Salem.
This season, several teams are playing remarkably well defensively, but no one can match Myers Park. Wilmington Hoggard, a 4A power, has allowed six goals. Fayetteville Sanford (3A public) and Raleigh Grace Christian (2A private) have allowed five. In 2A, High Point Andrews has surrendered four.
But only three teams have scored against Myers Park and none of them is a slouch: Porter Ridge (20-4-1), which lost in the third round of the 4A playoffs this week; West Forsyth; and Providence Day (17-2-3), which plays Charlotte Latin for a N.C. 3A private schools state championship on Saturday.
“But you know the coolest thing is that we don’t feel we’re God’s gift to the game,” McCarley said. “We congratulate each other and celebrate each others’ success, and we make it fun. It’s fun when everybody else is the priority.”
McCarley said team chemistry starts with the smallest senior class he’s ever coached -- Kate Levinson and Kendall Edwards. They’ve created an environment where the Mustangs can - to use his words - let their hair down and be themselves.
Edwards is part of a four-person defensive backfield -- along with Megan Frost, Haley Godwin and Taylor Guzi -- that has clamped down on opponents and helped goalie Abby Britt record 14 shutouts.
Offensively, sophomore Ariana Maibodi has 17 goals and seven assists, and freshman Laughlin Ryan has 16 goals and three assists. But the Mustangs’ leading scorer, sophomore Amanda Stines, comes off the bench. She has 22 goals and four assists.
Maibodi, Ryan and Stines all scored in Wednesday’s 5-0 third-round win against Skyland Roberson that marked the Mustangs’ eighth straight win, a streak that has seen Myers Park outscore opponents 46-0.
Now the Mustangs are two games from the school’s first state championship berth.
But, McCarley said he isn’t thinking about that yet.
“I told them the only thing we can do now is get rest and get ready for the next round,” McCarley said. “If we could win the state final in the next round, then we’d have a chance, but we can’t.”
Myers Park’s motto this season is: “Every Game Starts From The Beginning.”
McCarley said the Mustangs’ focus is simple: start with great defense, dominate possession of the ball in the middle of the field and push it ahead and create dangerous scoring opportunities for their trio of high-powered offensive stars.
“Our top priority,” McCarley said, “is a shutout. Every single game. No questions asked. That means every game we play in we’ll give ourselves a chance to do win. And that’s all you can ask for.”
Wertz: 704-358-5133; Twitter: @langstonwertzjr
Union Academy Star among nation’s top scorers
Caleigh MacKinnon, a junior at Monroe’s Union Academy School, is tied for the No. 4 girls’ soccer goal scorer nationally. MacKinnon’s team lost to Community School of Davidson in a third round playoff this week, but she finished with 65 goals. A look at other top area scorers:
Lake Norman Charter
Gray Stone Day
*-Chapel Hill Woods Charter’s Isabel Pearce is No. 2 nationally with 77 goals and No. 1 in North Carolina. Mount Airy’s Baylee Greenwood is No. 3 nationally and No. 2 in North Carolina with 66 goals. Woods Charter and Mount Airy are outside the Observer’s coverage zone.
**-Mowery ranks No. 1 in South Carolina