Wheatmore overwhelms Forest Hills
The Wheatmore girls soccer team needed to settle down just a little bit early in Wednesday’s NCHSAA 2A state playoff game. Once it did, it was simply overwhelming.
The Warriors scored six goals in the first half — including four in just over 12 minutes — and tacked on three in the second against visiting Forest Hills to end the game via the mercy rule with 13:21 left.
“We finally realized we could turn the corners on them and put it on frame,” Wheatmore coach Rick Maness said. “I thought we really put it on frame well tonight. ... I thought we did well overall. We played well, and I was really pleased with what we did.”
Maddy Myers, Emily Brown and Lexa Wall each scored two goals to lead the Warriors (17-3-2), the PAC-6 champions and ranked No. 13 among state 2A teams. Candice Lockhart and Avery Clodfelter also scored one each, as Wheatmore controlled play for long stretches.
The Warriors dominated the shots 30-4, including 21 on net, but they didn’t start quite as sharp as they would’ve liked. Once they started playing to their strengths, playing to feet and picking up the tempo, they began finding the net with shot after shot in building a big lead.
“At the beginning, I don’t think we knew what to expect (playing in the playoffs),” said Wall, a senior forward. “So, we were all a little nervous. But once we had the game in control, everyone seemed to settle down and the balls seem to connect a little more.”
Lockhart headed home a goal with 30:41 left in the first half for a 1-0 lead. Then Wheatmore went up 2-0 with 26:35 left on an own goal off a corner kick, and then 3-0 on Brown’s header with 19:51 left. Myers capped the flurry with a hard shot for a 4-0 lead with 18:12 left.
Wall and Myers added goals in the final 11 minutes to lead 6-0 at halftime. Wall and Brown scored two goals early in the second half, and Clodfelter finished it off with a hard-charging goal with 13:21 left for a 9-0 lead and a mercy-rule win for the Warriors.
Cora Weeks made two saves in goal in the 12th shutout this season for Wheatmore, which will face Friday or Saturday the winner of the Forbush-West Davidson game. Stephanie Sanchez made 12 saves for the Yellow Jackets (4-12-1), the No. 3 seed from the Rocky River Conference.
“We just try to play to our best,” Wall said of likely facing Forbush, ranked No. 1 in the 2A. “We don’t think just about getting the ‘W.’ We just want to play our best. And if our best isn’t enough, then at least we know we played our best and that’s OK. ...
“I would say tonight definitely helped. Some of the freshmen and underclassmen who haven’t played built their confidence some. I’d say that we’ve got a good start.”