South Charlotte

One-woman teams making their schools proud

Shannon Bradley (4) and Taylor Parker (18) led the Falcons to their first South Piedmont Athletic Association championship in school history
Shannon Bradley (4) and Taylor Parker (18) led the Falcons to their first South Piedmont Athletic Association championship in school history

Kelley Topiwala, Carmel Christian, girls golf, fr.: For the last four years, Kelley Topiwala has played for the Carmel Christian middle school boys’ golf team.

She wanted to play for her school’s girls golf team, but there wasn’t one. But this year, as she was going into high school, Topiwala and Carmel Christian golf coach, Bill Smith decided it was time for the school to have a girls’ golf team. Topiwala was the only girl on the team, but decided she was willing to be a one-woman team.

“Kelley’s always wanted to have a girls’ team at Carmel Christian,” Smith said. “I think it says a lot about her that she enjoys this school so much, she was willing to start as a one-woman team. She told me, ‘I’m willing to play as a one-woman team and hopefully we will get more in the future.’ She (Topiwala) is really blazing a trail for the future players here.”

Smith said several families have approached him about their girls playing for Carmel Christian next year. However, Topiwala is making a historic run this year. She has qualified individually to play in the NCISAA girls’ state golf tournament, Oct. 24-25 at the Country Club of Whispering Pines in Pinehurst.

Topiwala, who is a member at Raintree Country Club, is averaging 40 per nine holes this season. She shot a season-best 37 in match in competition with Charlotte Latin and Gaston Christian, where Topiwala earned co-medalist honors.

Parker Melting, Independence, girls golf, jr.: The Independence junior continues to establish a tradition of girls’ golf excellence as a one-woman team for the Patriots.

Melting had her biggest win of the season earlier this month, earning medalist honors at the Pinecrest Invitational. She posted a score of 72. Melting, who averages 37 per nine holes, also earned all-SW4A conference honors with a 77 at the league tournament to finish as runner-up.

Emily Anderson, Porter Ridge, girls golf, sr: Emily Anderson, won the Southwestern 4A conference title with a 74 at the Divide Golf Club on Oct. 10.

Anderson, who averages a 39 per nine holes this year, is the SW4A player of the year and now hopes to contend at 4A West Regionals and the 4A state meet. She plans to play golf at Southern Wesleyan University, S.C.

Shannon Bradley, sr., and Taylor Parker, eighth grade, United Faith Academy, volleyball: The United Faith volleyball team has formed one of the state’s most dynamic duos Shannon Bradley and Taylor Parker.

Bradley and Parker led the Falcons (17-2) to their first South Piedmont Athletic Association championship in school history, beating defending NCISAA 1A state champion, Statesville Christian, 3-2. Bradley had 18 kills and 23 digs in the championship match, while Parker added 22 kills and 29 digs.

Bradley (SPAA player of the year, three-time all-state pick) and Parker were both all-SPAA conference picks as they are first and second on the team in nearly every statistical category.

Claudine Taylor, Butler volleyball, sr.: Butler senior, libero, Claudine Taylor, recorded her 1,000th career dig in 3-0 win over Myers Park earlier this season, becoming the first player in school history to accomplish the feat.

Taylor, a team captain, has 547 digs this season, averaging 25 digs per match, one of the top marks in the state. Taylor also has been a big reason for Butler’s 19-3 record, including 12-0 in the Southwestern 4A conference.

Toni Pineda, Statesville, soccer, jr.: Toni had two more hat tricks earlier this month to lead the Greyhounds to wins over South Iredell and North Lincoln.

Pineda had three goals in a 4-1 win over South Iredell on Oct. 11, then followed that two days later with three more scores in a 6-0 victory over North Lincoln. Pineda, who has nine, hat tricks this season, has 34 goals in 16 games this year.

Pineda’s play has helped Statesville (14-4, 10-0 in the North Piedmont conference) win 14 straight games after starting 0-4 this season.

Dallas Baker, Providence, soccer, sr.: Baker continues his historic senior season. The forward scored seven goals and three assists earlier this month in three Panther wins -- in three consecutive days. Baker notched three goals and two assists in a 9-0 win over West Mecklenburg on Oct. 10. Then he scored what turned out to be the game-deciding goal in a 3-1 win over then-No. 1 in the state, South Mecklenburg on Oct. 11. Finally, Baker had three goals and an assist in a 7-0 win over Berry Academy.

Baker now has 33 goals and 13 assists for the 15-1-2, Providence team (10-1 in the SoMeck8 conference). The Providence, school record for single-season goals is 37, set last season by Nick Aparicio.

Evan Ashbrook, Hough, soccer, sr: After missing nearly two weeks with a sprained ankle and aggravated quad, Hough senior forward, Evan Ashbrook, came back with a bang. He scored two goals each in wins over Myers Park and Mallard Creek.

Hough (13-3-2, 7-1) has now won seven straight games to take back the MECKA 4A conference lead over Mallard Creek. Ashbrook has 14 goals and nine assists this season.

Noah McLeod, Community School of Davidson, soccer, sr.: McLeod, a goalkeeper, has nine shutouts in his last 12 games (through Cherryville game) as he has helped the Spartans win 12 straight games after 1-3 start.

McLeod has allowed only three goals in South Piedmont 1A conference play all season. He had two shutouts earlier this month, against Lincoln Charter and Mountain Island Charter.

McLeod now has a 35-6-1 career record in goal for his Spartans’ team.

Aleena Oakley, Independence, girls tennis, jr.: The Patriots’ junior, No. 1 singles player qualified for the 4A West Regional tournament after going 8-4 in the regular season.

Oakley, who also plays No. 1 doubles, is a team captain for an improving, Independence girls’ tennis team (7-5), and also plays lacrosse for the Patriots.

Megan Frost, Myers Park, field hockey, so.: Frost scored the game-winning goal with six minutes left to beat Charlotte Country Day 1-0. The Mustangs win was the first over Country Day in school history.

Frost finished the regular season with 24 goals, 15 assists for her 14-1 Myers Park team. Frost’s 91 career points have already shattered the school record.

Isabelle Sumichrast, Charlotte Latin, field hockey, sr.: Sumichrast, a Syracuse University commit, had three big performances earlier this month. She led the Hawks to wins over Myers Park, Greensboro Day and Ravenscroft.

Sumichrast, a central midfielder “who conducts both the Hawks’ offense and defense,” according to Latin coach Deb Savino, started her week with an assist on the first goal in a 3-0 win over then-unbeaten, Myers Park. Sumichrast also was responsible for some of the strong defense played on the Mustangs’ Frost in that game. She finished her week with a goal and an assist to help Latin to a 3-0 win at Greensboro Day and a 5-0 win over Ravenscroft.

Jay Edwards is a freelance writer: