Tough road ahead for the Pack

DAVID CUCCHIARA | DAILY NEWS

DAVID CUCCHIARA | DAILY NEWS

 

By DAVID CUCCHIARA
Washington Daily News

 

WASHINGTON — The Washington girl’s soccer team now carries the distinguished title of “last team standing” in Beaufort County with its win over South Lenoir and Northside’s heart-breaking 9-2-loss to Princeton in softball.

It was more of the same for the Pam Pack in Round 3 of the NCHSAA Class 2-A State Playoffs. After easily beating its cross-county rival North Lenoir twice in out-of-conference play, head coach Ed Rodriguez’s talented squad knocked off South Lenoir Tuesday evening, 9-0. The win marked the 11th-straight game decided by the mercy rule for Washington, as well as the 11th-straight contest without allowing a goal. The team’s two leading scorers, seniors Alana Jefferson and Christian Heggie, both notched hat tricks, giving them 36 and 55 goals on the season, respectively.

Goal tender Emily Alligood has needed to make just three saves in three state tournament games, possibly the most shocking statistic and a testament to a strong defensive core spearheaded by junior Anna McLawhorn.

But the days of controlling all 80 minutes and scoring bountiful amounts of goals could be coming to an end in the coming days. The Pam Pack are three wins away from their first Class 2-A State Championship, and the team will face the winner of Roanoke Rapids (14-3) and Carrboro (16-4). Both squads have impressive records and even more imposing scoring ability. Carrboro, the No. 5 seed, is averaging about seven goals a contest.

Looking ahead one more round, a marquee final four matchup between Washington and the No. 2 seed Croatan (16-3-3) could be brewing. Croatan finished the regular season on top of a historically competitive East Central Conference.

However way you look at it, the days of blowing out conference opponents is over. The next three round will test just how good this team actually is.

Washington will host the winner of Carrboro and Roanoke Rapids on Friday at 6 p.m.