East-West Girls’ All-Star Soccer

Teams tie, but Triangle girls dominate

mblake@newsobserver.comJuly 26, 2013 

— The swan song of the state’s top girls’ soccer players Tuesday night in the N.C. Coaches Association East-West soccer all-star games was Triangle-dominated, both in numbers and in impact.

While the game ended in a 2-2 tie, the Triangle was perhaps the biggest winner on the night.

Eight of the 11 starters, the head coach and one of the two goal-scorers were from Wake County.

The West scored first on a penalty, but a local connection tied it for the East in the 38th minute.

Caroline Brown (Broughton) took a free kick from just inside midfield that sailed deep into the box, where Christina Gibbons (Cardinal Gibbons) redirected it with a header inside the far post.

“Thankfully Christina has great ups – like a basketball superstar – and she hit it perfectly,” Brown said.

Gibbons, a Duke recruit, was terrorizing the West defense for much of the night.

Normally a player like Gibbons, named a first-team all-American by EliteSoccerReport.com, is advised by college coaches not play.

However, “My (college) coach was all for it, just getting some playing in before preseason starts. He said just to enjoy it and finish out your high school career strong,” Gibbons said.

The score was 1-1 at halftime, but the West created chances until Rachel Cox (Greensboro Grimsley) scored on an assist from Jackie Nieradka (East Forsyth) in the 71st minute.

The East answered with an unmarked Nancy Kirk (Fayetteville Jack Britt) taking a few extra touches into the box before scoring in the 77th minute.

Leigh McGill (Cardinal Gibbons) started in the midfield while Cary’s Anna Witte, a Penn State recruit, came off the bench and split most of the corner kick duties.

Hanna Socha (Panther Creek) came off the bench as a center midfielder.

“I felt like it was a good educational experience. A lot of these people are going to really good colleges, some of them we’ll probably play against in conferences, so it was just a good first step into the college game,” Socha said. “It’s just a fun way to end my high school career.”

It was a final game for all players, but East girls’ soccer coach Deran Coe was also in his last high school game. The new Wake County Public School System athletic director has been at his post with WCPSS since March.

The East leads the girls’ series 9-6-7 after a third consecutive tie in the series.

Cox, who will play at N.C. State next year, was named MVP.

Blake: 919-460-2606 or twitter.com/JMBpreps.

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