Second half sparks Tigers past Bison
The Ragsdale girls soccer team took a little while to get going, but it finally burst through and took control.
Wanting to finish the regular season strong in preparation for the state playoffs, the Tigers overcame a slow start to score five second-half goals in beating High Point Central 7-0 on its Senior Night on Thursday at the High Point Athletic Complex.
“We have to get after it. We have to play with a sense of urgency,” Ragsdale coach Brien Braswell said. “We’ve got to be on top of it from the opening kickoff. Everybody was just dribbling too much in the first half, looking too much for individual play — offsides, everybody moving forward. Our game’s with the ball at our feet.
“I asked them, ‘Are your parents paying you $100 for every goal you score? — you’re killing me,’” he said with a laugh. “Soccer’s a team concept. So, we got back to that, and I think I had to wake them up a bit. But it’s a long season, and I think we’re ready to go. We’re excited. But if you’re not ready to play in 4A, your season’s done.”
Lindsay Kubrick scored three goals and dished one assist in leading the Tigers (16-2-2, 10-1-1 Piedmont Triad 4A Conference), ranked No. 13 among state 4A teams. Lauren Whitaker, Montana Flemming, Emily Pfister and Lauren Culler each scored one goal.
Flemming, Culler, Lauren Walker, Annie Scheffer and Hensley Erath each had an assist, as Ragsdale settled into more of its style of play in the second half by connecting on passes and creating a number of good scoring opportunities on which it capitalized.
“First half was rough,” said Kubrick, a junior forward. “I don’t think we were very awake. We’re definitely a second-half team, but we’re going to have to put two halves together in the playoffs. We had a good second-half talk. Braswell said good things, and then he left us alone and we realized it’s not messing around anymore.
“We weren’t playing our game first half. Then we focused more on opening up the field, getting out wide and connecting passes. When we connect passes, we’re at our best, for sure. ... After the second half, I feel a lot better (about the playoffs). I think that was a wake-up call for us — that no game’s a giveaway.”
The Bison (4-12, 2-10 PTC), who honored seniors Mackenzie MacDonald, Mary Bryan Smith, Grace Bunemann, Caroline Segal and Krystal Conner before the game, kept the Tigers mostly at bay defensively during the first half and even pushed forward for offensive looks.
Central, which has been keyed by midfielder Susie Griffin much of the season, played solidly in stretches. But when Ragsdale, which led 2-0 at halftime and pulled away with three goals in eight minutes early in the second half, clicked offensively, it was difficult to contain.
“I felt like we played really well,” Bison coach Kate Finch said. “They played hard and physical to the end, and that’s all you can ask for. In the first half, we were staying marked up and smart in the back. (Kubrick)’s good. We knew we needed to man-mark her from the start, and the girls did a good job with that. ...
“The only thing I care about is that they played hard the whole time,” she said of the season as a whole. “There was never a time where they put their heads down and gave up. That’s all I can ask — is just to play hard. And they had fun, which is great as well.”
Smith made 10 saves in goal for Central, while Keller Dixon, Erin Rine and Morgan Klenke combined for two for the Tigers, who finished second in the PTC. They will host Southeast Guilford, the No. 3 seed from the Metro, on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the opening round of the 4A playoffs.