The Forbush girls’ soccer team is heading back to Raleigh for another crack at a state championship.
Freshman midfielder Marley Martin scored the only goal of the game to give Forbush a 1-0 win over Central Academy of Monroe in the NCHSAA Class 2-A semifinals Tuesday night.
The Falcons play Carrboro on Saturday at N.C. State in a rematch of last year’s state title game. Forbush lost to Carrboro 2-1 in double overtime.
Martin’s goal Tuesday came on a corner kick from Katlyn Disher at the 25-minute mark of the first half.
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Martin was not on last season’s team. But she sat in the stands and watched her friends and future teammates lose a heartbreaker. And yes, just like the Falcon players on the field, she cried when the game ended.
Martin, however, won’t be sitting in the stands this time.
“I am really excited right now, just so excited,” she said. “This is just so awesome.”
Unlike Monday night’s 6-0 quarterfinal win against East Lincoln, Falcon goalkeeper Calyn Davis actually got to see some action. She made two crucial saves on penalty kicks, one in each half.
“Again our team played really, really well together,” she said. “They came up big, especially when they started to put more pressure on us.”
Davis says it’s only fitting Forbush gets another chance at a state championship.
“This is huge,” she said. “It’s been our ultimate goal all season. It means a lot to these girls, especially the seniors. We have set the bar high this season. We don’t want to come back with anything less than a win.”
Forbush (26-0-1) had numerous opportunities to break open the game in the final 20 minutes, including two corner kicks and a penalty kick, but it was turned away each time.
“Any time you leave goals out there it’s like leaving runners on base,” coach Kenan James of Forbush said. “You can’t give away easy opportunities like that. But I thought we defended well and our goalkeeper was fantastic.”
But a win is a win as far as James is concerned.
“We are just thrilled to be Western Regional champs,” he said. “We will celebrate this and talk about Carrboro this week and get ready for the game. We are obviously thrilled to be going back to the state championship game.”
Central Academy came into this game with a 12-11-3 record, but coach Jay Niessner said that was deceptive.
“We have been playing real well since the start of the playoffs,” he said. “I really think our preseason schedule against all the 3-A and 4-A teams in our area helped us. We knew we wouldn’t see anything tonight we hadn’t seen all season.”
However, Niessner admitted Forbush is the class of 2-A soccer in the western half of the state.
“I can’t say enough about Kenan (James) and his program,” he said. “He has set the standard for a couple of years now. They move the ball extremely well, play together, play solid defense and have a great keeper. They just have all the ingredients for a great team. Best of luck to them in the final.”