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NCHSAA Class 2A Girls Soccer Playoffs: East Bladen 2, East Davidson 1

ELIZABETHTOWN – Freshman Maya McDonald recorded a goal and an assist Tuesday night as East Bladen defeated East Davidson 2-1 in the opening round of the NCHSAA Class 2A girls’ soccer playoffs.

East Bladen grabbed the lead in the third minute of play as McDonald sent a pass to junior Sydney Wober who knocked in the shot from six yards out.

Photos by Kenneth Armstrong

The visiting Golden Eagles answered three minutes later as junior star Summer Watkins nailed a long shot to tie the score 1-1. “An unbelievable shot from distance on the left side of the box with no angle,” said East Bladen Coach Jay Raynor.

Six minutes into the second half McDonald turned a long through ball from sophomore Katie Evans into the go-ahead goal. McDonald drilled in the shot from eight yards out.

“This was the most complete game we have played all year,” said Raynor. “Don’t let the seeds fool you… that was an extremely tough and solid team we played.”

Raynor added, “Everyone played outstanding tonight. Katie (Evans) dominated the midfield and her counterpart, Merritt (Martin), was a heck of a compliment. Gracyn (Martin) was able to clean up anything that bypassed our holding mids and made some big plays.”

“Cybil (Campbell) continues to have career games and putting everything she has into it,” noted Raynor. “She made some intelligent plays and helps keep us organized in the back.”

The Lady Eagles played without senior Ashley Hardin due to an injury. “It hurt not having Ashley, but the girls didn’t miss a beat,” stated Raynor. “Big minutes from Heather (Hardin), Bailey (Davis) and Abbi (Collins). We were able to sub more and wear them down in the heat. That allowed us to keep the pressure on.”

Raynor felt that Watkins was the best player that the Lady Eagles had faced this season. “Kenia (Medina) held her down. She didn’t allow her to face the goal often and frustrated her.”

An adjustment the Lady Eagles made at halftime of moving junior Patience Ward in towards McDonald forced the East Davidson centerback to have to decide who to mark. “That’s what created the gap for Katie to hit that through ball to Maya for the goal,” said Raynor. “That adjustment caused them a lot of problems.”

“Maya was off the charts tonight,” said Raynor. “Her size and agile turns couldn’t be stopped. Sydney did a good job of controlling the game in the midfield. She sees the game well and made some nice passes that split the backline.”

Raynor also praised goalie Ting Lin, “She came up big on every shot they had. Every play that she had to make she did.”

The Lady Eagles raised their record to 17-1 and will host Trinity Wheatmore (14-4) in the second round. Wheatmore edged Winston-Salem Atkins 2-1 in the opening round.

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