The West Forsyth girls soccer team faced a big challenge when No. 4-ranked South Forsyth visited The Den on Friday, and the Lady Wolverines earned an early signature win to be considered one of the top teams in the region, winning 1(4)-1(2) on penalty kicks.
The Wolverines’ boys team entered Friday night facing a South team that had a significant size advantage. They utilized their speed advantage to score the only goal of the game, winning 1-0.
West has been in the shadow of teams like Lambert and South. Lambert’s girls team finished second in the state last year, and South entered this season hoping to do something similar. West knew it had big-time talent. Brooke Pirkle and Carson Parker are both committed to Arkansas, and rising freshman Kylie Gazza was a versatile weapon waiting to be unleashed.
West (5-1, 3-0) rushed out of the gates ready to play. About 30 seconds into the first half, West drove the ball down and had a clean look on the goal. The shot bounced off the post, but it set the tone for the rest of the game.
South (6-1, 2-1) controlled the ball for most of the first half. The Lady War Eagles had five corner kicks but failed to capitalize on any. West ended the first half with six shots on goal, while South ended the half with four shots on goal.
Gazza ended the scoreless tie at the 31:01 mark in the second half, rifling in West’s only regulation goal of the night from a right-side cross. Just 33 seconds later, South answered with a Meagan Postell goal at the 30:32 mark.
“In the second half, we had to come out and turn it around,” said head coach Jason Bayush. “We got one, but unfortunately we gave one up right after it.”
The game went into overtime, where the tie game continued, and it was forced into penalty kicks. West knew this was its shot to make a statement.
“I told the girls this is one of those games that you made it this far,” said Bayush, “so don’t give it up now.”
Bayush called upon his three star players to clinch the win. First, Pirkle made her shot. Parker did too. The final shot came down to Gazza.
“Gazza said she wanted to go last,” said Bayush. “I said ok, but you gotta bury it, and she did.”
West’s boys (4-2, 2-0) managed to keep their cool over South (2-4, 0-3). South had two yellow cards and a red card in the contest, but no West players received any cards. The only goal of the game came off a free kick that bounced off the top post and right to Ivan Morales, who capitalized on the rebound.
“We said we gotta attack the goal. We were making them dictate the game to us. At some point you gotta get out there and get it,” said Bayush. “They finally got out there and buried one.”