High School Sports

Maddy McGarry’s kick helps Providence girls’ soccer advance

Ragsdale’s  Emily Topping, left, and Providence’s Maddy McGarry tangle during Friday’s  girls soccer match in the fourth round of the 4A playoffs.
Ragsdale’s Emily Topping, left, and Providence’s Maddy McGarry tangle during Friday’s girls soccer match in the fourth round of the 4A playoffs. dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

Maddy McGarry’s free kick didn’t go where she intended.

Instead of darting to the back post, the shot curled to inside the near upright for the game-winning goal in Providence’ 2-1 win against Jamestown Ragsdale in the fourth round of the N.C. 4A girls soccer playoffs. As the only left-footed kicker on the squad, the senior forward’s job was to get the ball into scoring position.

“At the last game (against Charlotte Catholic), my sister Molly had a free kick and she hit it on the inside post and most of the time it goes back post,” McGarry said. “I basically followed what she did and also the goalie was way off to the left. I wasn’t expecting it to go in at all, but it was really exciting.”

McGarry’s tally, scored in the 46th minute, pushed Providence (22-1-1) into the West Region final against Lake Norman on Tuesday. It also gave the Panthers some breathing room in a match they thoroughly dominated. Ragsdale (17-3-3) drew even on Sandra Geiselhart’s right-footed blast to the far post in the 23rd minute, but the Panthers never lost the initiative.

“The game was very one-sided in the second half,” Providence coach Nathan Williams said. We talked at halftime about matching them physically. They were beating us to balls they shouldn’t have been beating us to.”

Providence controlled the pace early, punctuated by Molly McGarry’s goal in the eighth minute, but Ragsdale seized upon its best opportunity with Geiselhart’s equalizer. The Panthers had several chances to go in front before intermission, but couldn’t finish on the frame, which caused some frustration.

“They scored at the end of the first half, and that doesn’t happen to us very often,” Maddy McGarry said. We stay up at least one most of the time, so it was a little nerve-wracking for our team, but we’re definitely a second-half team.”

It didn’t take long for the Panthers to prove it with McGarry’s bender and a steady attack that Providence used to dominate possession and limit Ragsdale’s chances to draw level.

“The girls faced a different challenge,” Williams said. We’ve never been at 1-1 and had to get a goal back … so I give great credit to the girls for battling and getting the winning goal for sure.”

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