By David Rogers. May 12, 2017. BOONE, NC — Fresh on the heels of a thrilling, triple overtime win against Charlotte-Independence in Round 1 of the 4A state championship tournament, 6th-seeded Watauga women’s soccer will host 11th-seeded Greensboro-Grimsley Friday evening, 6:00 pm, at Jack Groce Stadium on the high school campus in Boone. Community and school support for the High Country’s favorite daughters could prove critically important.
When it comes to the North Carolina 4A tournament in any sport, the seedings hardly matter because the league competitions can be so close, especially in the highly urban conferences serving metro areas like Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh and Winston-Salem.
The Pioneers found that out first hand on Wednesday when they faced a skilled and athletic Independence eleven that had finished 4th in the Southwestern 4A Conference. The Patriots had finished just 6-6 in league play and 12-10-2 overall.
For a young team, fan, family, school and community support is important.
Watauga finished the regular season of a tight 3A/4A Northwestern Conference race in 3rd place at 12-2-3 overall and 9-2-3, but was regarded as the “first place” 4A finisher with South Caldwell (9-7-1, 7-6-1) as the only other 4A team in the mixed-level conference.
In an interesting seeding twist, Grimsley is ranked by MaxPreps.com as the 8th best 4A team in North Carolina, with Watauga 10 notches below in 18th. Even though Grimsley tied with Page High School atop the regular season All Metro 4A league standings, Watauga got the higher seed at No. 6.
There is no question that the Watauga team is good and that was evident in their domination of ball control against Independence with disciplined, one-touch and two-touch passing and unselfish play.
But head coach Catherine Wallace’s 19-player roster is young, with only one senior, a couple of juniors, a sprinkling of sophomores and a seeming horde of freshmen, with several of the youngest in starting roles.
Grimsley, meanwhile, sports a 23-woman roster with 9 seniors, 4 juniors, 10 sophomores, and NO freshmen.
Community and school support for the Lady Pioneers tonight will be more important than ever. This is a “David vs. Goliath” story in the making.