Watauga girls' soccer team beats Avery
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
MORGANTON — Watauga’s girls’ soccer team looked to a veteran and a newcomer for the bulk of its offense it its 5-3 victory over Avery in the Freedom Invitational Thursday.
The veteran, Hannah Younger, scored a hat trick in Watauga’s first win without needing a penalty kick shootout after a tie. Younger scored Watauga’s first three goals with help from freshman Tristin Derrick.
Younger returned the favor for Derrick, who scored the final goal of the game with a Younger assist. It was Derrick’s third goal in as many games.
senior Tori Derrick, scored Watauga’s other goal. Watauga improved to 1-1-1.
“We came out with a win,” Pioneers coach Brittany Bolick said. “It’s not the best I’ve seen us play this season, but a win’s a win.”
Watauga plays Alexander Central in the tournament finals at 7 p.m. tonight. The Cougars won a penalty kick shootout over Patton that was played on the field next to the turf Watauga was playing Avery.
All of Watauga’s goals except for Younger’s third goal were results of the Pioneers patiently passing the ball around the Avery goal and finally finding a hole in the Vikings’ defense. Watauga handled the ball the majority of the game by keeping it away from the Vikings’ quick-strike offense.
Even though the Pioneers dominated the time of possession, they found themselves behind 3-2 at halftime. Avery struck quickly on all three of its goals, including its first, which was scored in the first six minutes of the game. That goal gave the Vikings a 1-0 lead.
Younger, who signed a letter of intent to play at Queens College next fall, struck back two minutes later with her first goals to tie the game 1-1. Younger struck again with a goal to give the Pioneers a 2-1 lead.
Avery struck back with some breakaway goals just before halftime. The Vikings tied the game 2-2 with a goal in the 39th minute, and followed with another goal on a counter-attack just 15 seconds before halftime to put the Vikings in front 3-2 at the half.
“They have a lot of speed up top,” Bolick said. “The field conditions were not great, so they wanted to give it a chance by sending them way out wide and just using their (speed) to go after it. We really don’t play that way. We play more of a tactical game where we’re trying to play the feed and working back and forth. Sometimes it works for you and sometimes it doesn’t.”
It didn’t take long in the second half for Younger to tie the game. After Avery nearly scored another goal at the start of the second half, Younger struck back with a goal to forge a 3-3 tie.
The Derrick sisters put the game out of reach. Tori Derrick’s goal with 57 minutes left gave the Pioneers a 4-3 lead. Tristin Derrick scored four minutes later.
“A lot of our girls really stepped up, but definitely Tristin had a couple of assists and a goal, and Tori had a big finish for us when we needed it to go up 4-3. I think that took the wind out of their sails.”