Published: Apr 24, 2007 11:22 AM
Modified: Apr 24, 2007 11:22 AM
RALEIGH Work hard and finish believe that you can.
Just a little of it is skill, and 99 percent mental, Apex girls soccer coach Kevin Todd said after the Cougars 1-1 tie with defending NCHSAA 4-A state champion Broughton in Saturdays Eurosport Spring Soccer Showcase.
The outcome was as close as Apex (14-0-2) has finished against the Capitals (winners of seven of the last 10 state titles) since a 2003 match was suspended with a 1-1 score because of weather.
A sunny day at Southeast Raleighs John H. Baker Jr. Stadium included Broughton (15-2-1) weathering multiple storms induced by Cougars strikers, who sought to net Apexs first win in five years against North Carolinas most successful program.
The head game began in the 12th minute when the Cougars Katie Dodd watched her header sail over the open nets crossbar. Dodd scored 17:08 before halftime, but saw her shot on goal 3:15 after the break halted inches before the goal line by Capitals goalkeeper Kelsy Weavil.
Skilled and athletic is very tough to beat, Broughton coach Izzy Hernandez said. They showed what they have. Im sure each team feels they could play a little better than what they did. But thats part of it.
Less than two minutes before the Dodd goal came a dose of déjà vu as Apex fell behind on an own goal. The Cougars dropped a 1-0 decision to Charlotte Providence which went on to the state final in the 2006 Showcase.
With 4:20 to play, Kelsey Saxs one-on-one opportunity versus Broughton reserve backstop Alex Perry landed wide right.
They lose players each year, but theyre the same program, Todd said.
Weavil left the game with a sprained medial collateral ligament after the save by inches.
We played a good game against them, Todd continued. Having it end up in a tie is setting up for the future, I guess.
The schools have met in the state playoffs every year since 2001. That year the host Capitals prevailed 2-0 in overtime in the state semifinals en route to a fourth consecutive state championship. A postseason matchup this spring would be played at Apex.
In 2002, the Cougars, who tallied a 2-1 regular-season win at Broughton, defeated the visiting Capitals 1-0 in the state quarterfinals on the way to the state final. Apex entered the championship match against Greensboro Grimsley with a No. 1 national ranking, as was the case heading into last Saturday.
We dont even know how we got there to be honest, Cougars senior forward Amy Dodd said. We definitely have to work on finishing and finishing more. Thats also due to nerves, because a lot of people on our team havent played in a really big game yet besides in conference.
Apex has not lost or tied a league match since its current senior class was in elementary school. The Cougars biggest mental challenge before the postseason, arguably, is staying sharply focused through their five remaining Tri-Eight matches, which began at Panther Creek on Monday, against opponents that Apex outscored by a 30-3 total (three shutouts) in the first half of conference play.
Therell be adjustments. There just has to be, said Todd, who did not elaborate further. The only (No.) 1 thats won on the field is a state championship. You just have to get to the next level mentally.