Three Observer-area girls’ soccer teams will play for state championships Saturday. Two baseball teams will play in regional finals with a spot in next week’s state championship series at stake.
Nationally ranked Providence and Marvin Ridge will play deciding Game 3s in their regional championship series in baseball. Providence is at North Davidson in 4A. Marvin Ridge is at home against Ledford in 3A. The games start at 7 p.m.
In girls’ soccer, N.C. State will host the championships.
In 1A, Community School of Davidson (22-0-2) returns after winning the title in 2014. CSD will face Franklin Academy (22-1) at 5 p.m.
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In 3A, nationally ranked Weddington (23-0-1) will face Jacksonville (20-1-3) at 8 p.m. Weddington, which lost in the 2014 final, has won 20 straight games.
In 4A, nationally ranked Providence (24-1-1) will play Apex Middle Creek (13-5-6) at 2 p.m. Providence lost 2-0 to Cary Panther Creek last season. The Panthers also lost in the finals in 2001 and 2006. They won in 1997.
Providence coach Nathan Williams believes his team is determined to play well, but says it isn’t using last year’s loss as motivation.
“We’re addressing this game as we did the last game and the one before that,” Williams said. “We’re one game away from potentially winning the title. That’s the focus. It doesn’t have any real bearing on last year’s game. It’s more to do with how the girls are prepared to step up and play on Saturday.”
Providence has won seven straight games, led by junior Molly McGarry (18 points, eight assists), sophomore Mady Ellis (16 goals, 18 assists) and a pair of goalies -- senior Lizzy Wilson and freshman Lizah Pistorio -- who have 19 shutouts between them.
Williams’ Panthers are the ninth straight Mecklenburg County team to qualify for the 4A championship round. North Mecklenburg (2010) and Hough (2012, 2014) won titles. Ardrey Kell (2008, ‘09, ‘11), Hough (2013) and Providence (2015) were runners-up.
Williams says having played for the title last season should help with his and his team’s preparation this time
“We know what to expect and what the day holds,” he said. “But it’s about the school really and the pride of competition. The girls have done incredibly well to compete at the level they have and they have beaten some very good teams along the way.
“Now, it’s about do they have enough determination and grit to get over the line.”
▪ In baseball, Providence (29-3) looks to become the first Mecklenburg County 4A team to return to the finals since Ardrey Kell went back-to-back in 2008 and ‘09. The Panthers, ranked No. 9 nationally by MaxPreps and the reigning state champions, visit No. 8 North Davidson (27-2). North Davidson beat Providence 5-1 Thursday at Providence to force Saturday’s deciding Game 3.
In 3A, Marvin Ridge (27-5) has its sights on returning to the state finals series after winning it last season. The Mavericks on Thursday won 1-0 at Ledford (25-6) to force Game 3.
Saturday’s soccer finals on TV
Saturday’s N.C. High School Athletic Association girls’ soccer championships will be televised live on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and streamed on TWCSportsChannel.com
11 a.m.: 2A Championship - Carrboro Jaguars vs. Forbush Falcons
2 p.m.: 4A Championship - Middle Creek Mustangs vs. Providence Panthers
5 p.m.: 1A Championship - Franklin Academy Patriots vs. Community School of Davidson Spartans
8 p.m.: 3A Championship - Jacksonville Cardinals vs. Weddington Warriors