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Hard work continues to pay off for Huskies

Hough girls’ soccer has a reputation to play up to.

The Huskies advanced to the semifinals of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A West Regional on Wednesday with a 3-0 win against Mooresville to improve to 22-0-2 and stay on course for a third straight state title game berth.

“I look at it more like a privilege,” said Hough forward Alex Denny, who scored a pair of goals to bring her season tally to 18. “Each and every one of us has worked to play on, and we work our butts off. We work this hard to be this good.”

Said coach David Smith: “It doesn’t get old, that’s for sure. You don’t get tired playing this deep in May and making a run. When it gets old, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.”

The Huskies were plenty good by dominating possession and patiently attacking Mooresville’s defense. Denny put Hough in front at halftime when she sprinted past a pair of Blue Devils defenders to score from 5 yards in the 24th minute. She struck again in the 51st minute by firing a volley to the upper corner of the net off senior forward Courtney Carroll’s corner kick. Although Mooresville (18-6-2) forced Hough to work the perimeter, the Huskies kept hammering away until opportunities presented themselves.

“It came down to finishing what we had and taking advantage of what we had,” Denny said.

Hough maintained the momentum in the second half. Carroll finished the scoring in the 64th minute by beating the defenders to Bailey Jones’ corner kick in front of the goal. The Huskies’ patient attack paid dividends on both ends as Mooresville struggled to mount a consistent offensive challenge.

“When you have a team of athletes like they have, the quality up and down, we had a game plan of not giving them quality shots,” Blue Devils coach Marc Calderone said. “We did the most of it keeping the shots outside the 18 (-yard range). That’s what cost us this game – a physical mistake or a mental mistake.”