VALE — The West Lincoln Lady Rebels celebrated their first victory over a Lincoln County opponent Wednesday since the origin of the women’s soccer program, topping the North Lincoln Lady Knights 2-1 in the home team’s final season match.
Although West Lincoln won’t be headed to the 2A state playoffs next week, head coach Tom Riley was more than proud of his squad’s accomplishment.
“We finished the season off well by beating a team like North,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll use that momentum going into the next season.”
The Lady Rebels finished fourth out of eight teams in the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A Conference with an overall record of 2-9-1. Their first season victory came against conference opponent Cherryville High School along with a draw against Highland Tech.
The top three 2A conference teams will head to the state playoffs, Riley said.
Senior forward Conner Sigmon secured both Lady Rebels’ goals including one early in the match and a final one in the second half to gain the lead.
According to North Lincoln head coach Kelly Barney, her team lacked impressive play Wednesday in their final season match.
“I was very disappointed,” she said. While Barney noted that her team displayed excellent skill earlier in the week against No. 1 ranked team Lake Norman Charter, they failed to produce a similar game in Vale.
“I asked to girls to play with that same intensity…and they were unable to do so,” she said. “At half time, we discussed our mistakes but continued to make them in the second half.”
According to Barney, the Lady Knights’ primary issue on the field this season has been inconsistency.
“We will need to find some consistency and drive to compete in playoffs,” she said.
Of the 47 shots North Lincoln players obtained throughout Wednesday’s match, only one proved successful. The Lady Rebels maintained aggressive play and held off numerous “surges” from their opponent, Riley said. In addition, referees called offsides on the North Lincoln team more than once during the match.
Barney also pointed out her team’s inability to maintain accurate shots.
“We were off our mark and continued to shoot directly to the West goalie,” she said.
Celina Figueroa snagged the visiting team’s lone goal. However, underclassman Nicole Barbieri attempted multiple impressive shots on goal for the Lady Knights, who currently rest in the conference’s third-place position with a record of 6-5-1.