BISCOE — The last chapter in the high school career of East Surry soccer standout Mary Jo Lowe remains to be written. In the meantime, she wrote another one.
In last week’s 6-0 first-round playoff win over Mountain Island Charter, the senior scored four goals and pushed her career total to 98. Her career will continue next year at Greensboro College, as the first-ever Lady Cardinal soccer player to ever play collegiately, but at least one more match will remain for her at East Surry after Lowe and her teammates stunned second-seeded East Montgomery 5-0 on Saturday evening in the second round.
The Lady Cardinals (12-7) extended their winning streak to eight matches and matched last year’s team as the only two East Surry girls’ soccer teams to ever make it to the third round of the NCHSAA state playoffs.
And by the way, Lowe surpassed the 100-goal mark in the victory, scoring twice in the win. In another totally unexpected development, the win over Mountain Island will not be the last home match for Lowe and her senior teammates Laura Ruiz, Maggie Collins and Carley Elliott. East Surry’s third-round foe is Pine Lake Prep, a 1-0 winner over Highland Tech in another Saturday evening match, and the Pride is the 23rd seed in the bracket, lower than the 16th seed owned by the Lady Cardinals.
The other three East Surry goals came from Christina Chavez, off a penalty kick awarded for a handball in the box; on a long shot from Karley Easter, and Marisol Juarez, off a corner kick made by Chavez.
“East Montgomery’s 10 (Jaquelin Rodriguez) and 13 (Marlene Lujano) put pressure on East Surry’s goal much of the night, but the back line stepped up to the challenge,” said Lady Cardinals head coach Neal Oliver.
East Montgomery, the champions of the Central Tar Heel 1A Conference, were heavily favored in Saturday’s match, and came into the contest with an overall record of 15-1 and a much higher MaxPreps power rating; the Lady Eagles were rated as the eighth-best team in the 1A ranks to East Surry’s 16th. However, like Mountain Island, they had no answer for Lowe, who already had her 100th career goal by halftime, or for Collins, who posted her second straight playoff shutout.
“Maggie Collins had another solid match, and we don’t compliment her enough, because she has been making great saves for four years,” said Oliver.
The third-round match with Pine Lake Prep (10-11) is scheduled for Wednesday at 6 p.m.