WINSTON-SALEM — The Mount Airy soccer team appears to be out of its slump, just in time for the playoffs.
Head coach Will Hurley was concerned about how the Lady Bears, who hadn’t been playing well, would respond to this week’s slate of three matches on consecutive evenings, but the team concluded its regular season on Thursday night with a 5-1 road win at Atkins that sent the team into the 1A state playoffs with an overall record of 14-7-1.
The win over Atkins gave the Lady Bears outright third place in the Northwest 1A Conference for this season. Mount Airy will find out its postseason destination when the NCHSAA announces the playoff brackets on Monday.
“This was a big win for us,” said Hurley. “I was worried about us having to play three games on three days in a row, and we were kind of tired today.”
The Lady Bears followed up a 9-0 rout of North Stokes on Tuesday with an 8-2 victory over East Wilkes in a non-conference game the next night. However, the team still had to win at Atkins to solidify its playoff position. The Lady Camels came in at 4-5 in conference play, while Mount Airy was 5-4. Had Atkins (9-10) won, the teams would have finished tied for third.
A strong defensive effort by the Lady Bears made sure that didn’t happen. The team did a solid job marking the Atkins attackers and keeper Samantha Stewart made 15 saves.
“Our back line did a really good job tonight, and we had good play from our keeper,” Hurley said.
The offense did the rest. Baylee Greenwood had another hat trick, her 12th of the season (or 14, if you count her two matches with double hat tricks). Nele Gorres had two assists and a goal, Allie Sechrist had a goal and an assist, and both Jessica Bevard and Olivia Malone had an assist as well.
The Lady Bears led 2-0 at the break and controlled the match throughout.
The previous evening, Mount Airy hosted East Wilkes in a match that had been rescheduled from earlier in the season. With both teams eyeing a state playoff berth and wanting the best possible seed, the Lady Bears responded with a dominant 8-2 victory. Leading 3-1 at the break, Mount Airy poured on five more in the second half to win decisively.
Much of the match was a give-and-go between Greenwood and Gorres. The former had four goals and three assists, while Gorres had a hat trick of her own and three assists as well. The other goal came off the foot of Sechrist.
The hat trick was the second of the season for Gorres, who scored four times in a win over Patrick Co. (Va.) last month.
Stewart made 11 saves in the victory.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.