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Soccer: South Forsyth girls defeat North Forsyth to keep playoff hopes alive

By Steven Watkins

For the Forsyth County News

Both the boys and girls soccer games at North Forsyth High School were bumped an hour early Thursday night in order to avoid the severe weather that tore through Forsyth County that evening.

Due to a rare switch in the starting times, the final horn in the South girls’ 2-0 win over the Raiders sounded only a few short minutes before the approaching lightning and rainfall reached the playing field, adding a final touch of drama to a region win that they absolutely needed.

“Yeah we had to (win,)” South head coach Tom Braun said. “North was a scrappy game. They gave us a scrappy effort.”

For a team still seeking its first region-win in the final leg of the season, the North girls put forth a notably, high-energy effort against a South squad fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive. The War Eagles’ win kept them a half-game behind third-place West Forsyth, whose game against Forsyth Central was postponed due to weather.

The Raiders threatened a number of times in both halves, yet consistently came up just shy of the scoreboard thanks to a stellar defensive night by the War Eagles.

Senior Riley Habegger lead the South defensive effort, sprinting downfield and deflecting what would have been free shots by North’s Kristina Evans and Abby Miranda in both the first and second halves respectively.

“We’ve been trying not only being first to the ball but also second to the ball,” Habegger said.

On a night where the ball couldn’t seem to find the back of the net, South’s offense was fortunate to snatch an early lead 10 minutes in, thanks to a beautiful header by freshman Sage Smith during a corner kick.

“It was a corner, and I just headed it upper-90,” Smith said.

South’s second goal came early in the second half, when a smart feed from Riley McBride gave Hunter Blanchard enough space to fire a shot from 30 yards out over the leaping goalkeeper and just under the top bar.

Entering spring break with their region record now at 4-5, the War Eagles will finish their region schedule on April 13th against No. 2-ranked Milton.

“They’re a top-five team in the state,” Braun said. “We played really well against them last time. I’m sure we’re going to come out fighting against them this time.”

The South boys took care of business in the evening’s first game, dispatching the struggling Raiders 4-0 while keeping pace with Lambert. Each of the first-place teams will now finish with one final region game before the state playoffs.

“We did what we had to do,” Braun said. “We’re ready for spring break to heal some injuries, get a few kids back from being sick and ready to make a run at the playoffs hopefully.”