Ragsdale advances with win over Southeast
It’s been eight years since Ragsdale girls soccer coach Brien Braswell has felt this good about one of his teams.
That year, the Tigers recorded 17 wins. On Wednesday night they got their 17th win of the season in a 3-1 victory over Southeast Guilford in the first round of the NCHSAA 4A playoffs.
The victory was the sixth in a row for Ragsdale (17-2-2), which has not lost since March 26 (it tied East Forsyth on April 16). It will play the winner of Grimsley and Winston-Salem Reynolds on Friday night.
After falling behind, the Tigers, the No. 2 seed from the Piedmont Triad Conference, scored three unanswered goals as Lindsay Kubrick played a key role, scoring once and also notching an assist.
“It’s kind of been a reoccurring thing, not getting off to the start that we want,” Kubrick said. “We are a second-half team, but we’ve got to be able to put together two halves if we are going to move forward.”
Southeast Guilford (12-7), the No. 3 seed from the Metro Conference, scored a breakaway goal 12 minutes, 30 seconds into the half. But the Tigers responded strongly, dominating possessions, corner kicks and throw-ins to crawl back into the match.
Erica Oakley fielded a long flip-throw from Montana Flemming in front of the net and found an opening for the Tigers’ first goal, tying the score at 1-1. “It’s funny, it’s almost like we have to give up a goal before we start playing,” Braswell said.
Ragsdale continued to dominate possession of the ball for the remainder of the half, coming up with several other opportunities to score. But the Falcon defense was able to keep the Tigers from adding to its lead.
Storm clouds began to move in just at the start of the second half, threatening to suspend play. But Ragsdale continued its strong offensive outing when Kelly McCain hammered a long corner-kick to Kubrick waiting in front of the net. Kubrick leaped above the defender and headed the pass into the back of the net, giving Ragsdale a 2-1 lead.
“Kelly played it absolutely perfectly,” Kubrick said. “I rarely score on headers, but that ball was perfect.”
Fourteen seconds in game time later, lightning cracked, forcing a 23-minute suspension of play.
“(The storm) sort of freaked me out,” Kubrick said. “We knew they were going to come out all fired up and try to tie the game. So, we just kept saying to stay focused and finish the game.”
Ragsdale did not allow a single scoring opportunity for the remainder of the match and added an insurance goal with 3:39 remaining – a corner kick from Kubrick to Lauren Merritt to make it 3-1.
“I’m excited,” Braswell said. “We haven’t made it past the second round since we’ve been in 4A. But we know we’re going to have to play our best game ever in the next round because both teams are very good. The post season is a new season.”