By RYAN HERMAN
DENVER –– For 60 minutes Monday the Southern Piedmont 1A Conference girls soccer showdown between league leaders Community School of Davidson and Lincoln Charter went as advertised.
The first 20 are why the Spartans are now all alone in first.
Community School of Davidson took it to the Eagles in the first 20 minutes, scoring all three of its goals during that span and it held on to win 3-0 and stake its claim to sole possession of first in the final week of the regular season.
Lincoln Charter (15-5, 7-1) had its season-best nine-match win streak snapped, and in the first fourth of the match Monday didn’t look like the team that had won nine straight.
“We weren’t very good today,” Eagles coach Dane Perry said. “We just weren’t mentally prepared.”
Of the Spartans’ three goals, only the first was a goal that wasn’t the result of a lapse in the host school’s defense.
Eliza Robinson received a ball roughly 25 yards from the net near her own sideline, and sent a rocket into the far corner of the goal that freshman keeper Seraiah Murray had no chance of stopping.
The next two goals –– the first by Anna LaVella and the last by Julia Grainda –– were the Spartans (12-0, 8-0) taking advantage of Lincoln Charter mistakes.
LaVella found herself in the right place at the right time when a ball squirted her way through the defense in the box, off her foot and into the net. Grainda simply outran Lincoln Charter’s defense on her way to a breakaway.
Although the Spartans outshot the Eagles 14-3, the next 60 minutes of match time were played to a scoreless tie. Lincoln Charter’s defense cracked down, and the easy looks that CSD had early were taken away.
Still, the 3-0 hole in the first quarter of the match –– the three goals were the most allowed by Lincoln Charter since falling 5-0 to Huntersville Hopewell on March 19 –– was too much to overcome.
“When you don’t play excellent defense for a whole 80 minutes against a team like that, they’ll make you pay,” Perry said.
Both teams have two matches left before the state playoffs start next week, with their final regular season match coming against each other in Davidson on Friday. The Eagles host Highland Tech today while the Spartans host Pine Lake Prep.
Lincoln Charter has already clinched no worse than second place, which, to Perry, is something to be proud of considering his team’s 0-2 start to the season.
“We’re okay. We just can’t have a meltdown now going into the state playoffs,” Perry said. “We need to continue to fight and finish strong.”