KING — Sarah Robinson wasn’t ready for West Stokes’ season to end.
The senior midfielder scored off a deflection in sudden death as the Lady Wildcats outlasted Surry Central 2-1 in the second round of the Class 2A West playoffs on Saturday night. West advances to play the Ashe County-Hendersonville winner in the next round.
The Wildcats (21-2-1) allowed a goal in the first four minutes to the Golden Eagles, but nothing after that.
“I wanted to finish this,” Robinson said. “They have beaten us and tied us. We wanted to let them know this was our house. It’s my senior year. I didn’t want to lose.”
After playing 100 minutes of soccer (two 40-minute periods and two 10-minute overtimes), the match went to a five-minute sudden death.
West wasted little time.
The Wildcats pushed the ball deep in Eagle territory and got a throw-in less than a minute in. Off a throw-in from Jordan Moore, the ball wound up in the box. Mara Loonen had a shot in traffic and Robinson came up with the goal off a rebound that got just past Central keeper Nohemi Lara.
After the game-winner, Robinson was mobbed by her teammates.
Coach Chris Manley of West Stokes said Robinson missed six weeks because of a high ankle sprain, and this is her second week coming back from the injury.
“Nobody expected us to do anything,” Manley said. “Character is the foundation for everything that’s happened for us. Character, and these girls are unselfish.”
It was a physical contest between two solid teams that fought to a 0-0 tie and 2-1 match earlier this season won by the Eagles.
Central got on the scoreboard four minutes into the match on Kelsey Taylor’s header off a corner kick from Sarah Bruce. The 1-0 lead held up until the 71st minute — when Robinson scored the equalizer to send the match into overtime.
Both teams had chances in the first and second overtime, but neither could capitalize. West and Central were strong defensively, while Lara and West keeper Liz Nail were solid in goal.
“That team might have come in third in the conference, but let me tell you, they are legit,” Manley said.
For Central (14-6-2), it was a heartbreaking end to a solid season.
The Eagles lose 10 seniors to graduation.
Coach Matt Richardson of Surry Central said he was disappointed with the result, but not in his players.
“Many of the seniors are four-year players who have turned Surry Central soccer around for the better,” Richardson said. “The heart of this team is what makes them so good. West Stokes is a great team, fundamentally sound.”