APA advances to first state championship game since 2003 in soccer
Arendell Parrott Academy’s Annabelle Averette races past a Forsyth Country Day defender in Tuesday’s state semifinals match. Photo by William ‘Bud’ Hardy / Neuse News
The third time was the charm for Arendell Parrott Academy.
The Patriots defeated Forsyth Country Day School 3-0 Tuesday in the NCISAA 3A semifinals to advance to their first championship game since 2003. APA (15-3) will host the state championship game Saturday at 7 p.m., facing Carolina Day School.
APA fell in the semifinals the past two seasons, but withstood an early Furies (9-5-1) barrage before taking over.
“This was one of the best teams we played all year,” Parrott coach Shivar Person said. “This is the same team that beat Cary Christian 4-0 (in the quarterfinals) after we lost to them 5-2 (April 23). Now, we’re 80 minutes away from the first soccer title our school has ever had.”
FCDS started out peppering the APA net, but Ele Wooten was up for the challenge with four early saves. The game remained scoreless until the 33rd minute when Annabelle Averette took a shot from 30 yards away, landing in the top right corner of the net, away from the outstretched hands of the goaltender for the 1-0 advantage.
“I got the ball with a bunch of space, and I heard someone in the crowd yell ‘shoot it,’” Averette said. “One of my teammates said the same thing and I just took it. I think it really helped raise my teammates’ confidence up — we knew we could win, but this helped boost us even more.”
From there, APA was able to extend the advantage in the 58th minute when Holland Killinger found Alex Melk for a goal, followed by Megan Blair scoring six minutes later after an assist from Lindsey Thomas.
APA experienced its 12th game of the season scoring three goals or more, along with its sixth shutout, but Melk said the next contest is all that matters.
“We’ve never done this before and we know this could be our last chance, so we have to give it our all,” Melk said. “We’ve made it this far and have 80 minutes to go to either become state championships or (runner-ups).”