By David Rogers. May 15, 2017. BOONE, NC — After knocking off Greensboro-Grimsley in overtime’s overtime on Friday, Watauga women’s aims another giant killer role on Wednesday when the Pioneers take on the top-ranked West Forsyth Titans in a 7:00 pm matchup on Wednesday — for Round 3 of the North Carolina 4A women’s soccer state championship tournament.
COVER IMAGE: Watauga forward Lilly Suyao has played key roles in the Pioneers Rd. 1 (vs. Independence) and Rd. 2 (vs. Grimsley) victories.
- ROUND 1 — http://blowingrocknews.com/savenskys-sudden-victory-goal-in-3ot-propels-watauga-past-independence-2-1/
- ROUND 2 — http://blowingrocknews.com/wet-wild-watauga-advances-to-round-3-on-overtime-pks/
This is rarefied air for the Lady Pioneers, a women’s soccer program that hasn’t advanced past the second round in the state tournament for over a decade, at least (online records are only available through 2008).
The young Pioneers have only one senior and two juniors on the varsity roster, the rest being mostly sophomores and a sprinkling of freshmen.
West Forsyth is the #2 ranked team in the state by MaxPreps.com after going 20-1-1 overall during the regular season. To earn the right to host Watauga in the Round of 16, West Forsyth (the #1 seed in the West bracket), defeated East Mecklenburg (Charlotte), 9-0, in Round 1, then got by Providence (Charlotte), 2-0, in Round 2.
Watauga played two overtime games in besting Independence (Charlotte), 2-1, then Grimsley on penalty kicks.
After Friday’s play in a torrential downpour, the water-logged Pioneers should be dried out in Wednesday’s competition. The weather forecast is for sunny skies in Clemmons, with a high of 91 falling to 85 by the 7:00 pm kickoff and receding to a more pleasant 78 by 9:00 pm.
So far, the three of the top four seeds in both the West and East brackets have survived. In the West, that includes #1 West Forsyth, #2 Hough (Cornelius), and #4 Myers Park (Charlotte), while #3 Page (Greensboro) was upset in the second round by Charlotte Catholic, 2-1. Another highly seeded team in the West, Lake Norman at #5, was also upset in the second round, by #13 Porter Ridge, 3-2.
In the East bracket, #1 Green Hope (Cary) advanced 3-2 over #9 E.A. Laney (Wilmington) and will face #9 Leesville Road (Raleigh) in Round 3. Hoggard (Wilmington) is the #4 seed in the East and advanced past Panther Creek (Cary), 4-0, and will face Millbrook (Raleigh) in the third round. Millbrook’s Wildcats advanced after beating Sanderson (Raleigh), 3-1. Second-seeded Cardinal Gibbons (Raleigh) won the right to take on upset-minded #27 Fuquay-Varina in a 4-0 defeat of Holly Springs in Round 2. Fuquay-Varina is the lowest seed remaining in the tournament after upsetting #5 Clayton, 4-1) in the first round and #22 Garner Magnet, 5-1, in Round 2.
The top quarter of the East bracket reinforces the thought that seedings mean little in North Carolina tournament play except for maybe home field advantage in the early rounds. #17 Middle Creek (Apex) faces #25 Heritage (Wake Forest) in Round 3 on Wednesday. Middle Creek advanced past #3 Wakefield (Raleigh), 2-1, while Heritage thumped #10 West Johnston, 5-0.