Lady Warriors scare White Oak to 3-1 win

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A championship season for the Hunt High varsity girls soccer team ended when it “scared” visiting White Oak into a 3-1 triumph in the opening round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A playoffs on the Lady Warriors pitch Tuesday night.

Trailing 1-0, Hunt, the 3-A Big East Conference regular-season co-champion with archrival Fike and No. 14 seeded among 32 East Region qualifirs, knotted the score at 1-1 with slightly over 15 minutes remaining.

The No. 19 Lady Vikes from the Coastal Conference answered with the go-ahead goal less than two minutes later and sealed the outcome with a third goal with four minutes, eight seconds remaining.

“I think (Hunt’s tying goal) may have scared them a little,” remarked White Oak head coach Michael Larose, “because we have been there so often this season. With the score tied 1-1, it could have gone either way; we have been known to give in a little.”

White Oak opened the scoring with two and one-half minutes elapsed when senior Kamryn Davis drilled a free kick past senior Hunt goalkeeper Madison Parker.

Hunt (12-9-2) pulled even on a free kick. Junior Sarah Mercer’s boot was headed in by senior Bailey Hardison.

But sophomore Shaelyn Webb responded with the Lady Vikings last two goals. Both were assisted by sophomore Mia Fuentes.

“Our intestinal fortitude showed tonight,” Larose declared. “We had it at the beginning of the year. We came out and fought. The last 15 minutes, we started stringing passes together. When we do that, we’re dangerous.”

In the final five minutes, White Oak (11-7) withstood Hunt attempts from Mercer on a free kick, junior Sophia Fox on a shot up the middle and a cross from junior Camille Ruiz to freshman Kristen Armstrong.

“I am very proud of our effort,” reviewed first-year Hunt head coach Richard Frazier. “We battled and played better soccer than they did. We had a better possession rate and that usually leads to good things. We struggled getting the ball into the net — as we have done all year. We just had a little defensive miscue on that second goal.”

Hardison, Armstrong and Fox cranked Hunt’s best first-half opportunities, while sophomore Mia Vargas and Webb created excellent first-half chances for White Oak. Before Webb’s insurance goal, Fuentes was turned away in an attempt to put the match away.

Controlling action much of the evening were defensive units of sophomore Alea Jones, junior Miriam Herrera, freshman Mackenzie Tyson, and sophomore Abigail Beamon and goalkeepers Parker and junior Rachael Cox for Hunt; and the Lady Vikes’ cast of goalkeeper Makayla Humphrey, Sydney Lenhardt, Davis, Hannah Potter, Hannah Parham and Shana Smith.

Hunt careers ended for seniors Parker, Kaitlyn Bracey, Hardison, Makala Brown, Madison Bass and Carter Aycock.

“We had a great group of seniors,” Frazier praised, “but it’s always sad to end the season like this. I am looking forward to next season; the future is looking very bright.”