Providence continued its quest for a girls’ soccer state championship Wednesday, and it gained some revenge in the process.
The Panthers shut out Charlotte Catholic 2-0 at home to move into the fourth round of the N.C. 4A playoffs. The Cougars (15-6-2) were the only team to defeat Providence (21-1-1) this season, 2-1 on April 30 at Catholic.
Providence scored a goal in each half, and continued to play suffocating defense. The Cougars offensively were limited to only a few dangerous chances but did hold the Panthers to just two goals with some stubborn defense of their own.
The Panthers’ Lauren Ellis helped set up what proved to be the winning goal by sister Mady Ellis in the 14th minute. Lauren Ellis corralled a loose ball just inside the Panthers’ side of midfield. She then weaved her way 40 yards down field and into the Catholic box where Mady Ellis deflected in Lauren’s cross for a 1-0 advantage.
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“I just knew we had to score,” said Lauren Ellis. “We lost to them (Catholic) last time, and we just needed to get up. I do a couple big runs here and there as defense and center back. We needed a goal right there.”
Nursing a 1-0 lead entering the second half, Providence elected not to stay back and play defense, but the Panthers kept attacking.
“I believe the game is supposed to be played with the ball on the ground and supposed to be played in the opponent’s half,” said Panthers coach Nathan Williams. “We play a relentless style that really, really taxes our forwards, but it’s something that they have to be able to deal with.”
Ellie Deaver gave Providence a 2-0 advantage in the 48th minute on a beautiful, bending shot from 20 yards off an assist from Maddy McGary.
Cougars junior midfielder Emily Nelson led Catholic with four shots.
“Our team is extremely talented. We don’t have a weak side. We don’t have just a starting eleven. Every single person on our team contributes. I honestly don’t think we have weak spot” – senior midfielder Deaver on why the Panthers have enjoyed success in the regular season and playoffs.
Providence has given up just four goals this season, with two coming in the April 30 loss at Catholic. … The Panthers have outscored their first three playoff opponents 16-0, beating Watauga 9-0, Reagan 5-0 and Catholic 2-0.
Providence will host Jamestown Ragsdale at home Friday night in the fourth round of the N.C. 4A playoffs. The Tigers (17-2-3) defeated Ardrey Kell 1-0 Wednesday.