NM Soccer Knocks Off Albemarle 1-0
The North Moore girls’ soccer team ground out a 1-0 win over Albemarle on the road Wednesday to begin its season on the right foot.
Well aware of the threat that 2010 conference player of the year Paige McConologue posed, the Mustangs (1-0, 1-0 Yadkin Valley Conference) tried to get the upper hand by controlling possession. Jamie Garner and Leslie Castrejon had a couple of scoring opportunities in the first half, but the game remained scoreless heading into the intermission.
Aggressive defense on McConologue by North Moore kept the game tied. Albemarle was unable to cash in on a scoring opportunity with 15 minutes left. But three minutes later, Ana Karen Catalan forced a turnover and passed the ball to Ester Pascaul, who fired a shot. The ball was miscleared toward the Albemarle goal and the keeper was unable to save it, producing the game-winner for the Lady ’Stangs.
“Defensively, we were very stout,” head coach James Horwath said. “Albermarle did not get that many clean looks on goal. Dara Forrest registered 10 saves for the game in earning her first clean sheet. The big concern for us was a revamped midfield with a new striker. Tonight we had to win ugly, but there was a lot of promise.”
Last year, the Lady Mustangs came very close to winning the conference, finishing second in the league to Gray Stone Day School after losing a close 2-1 contest in overtime that decided the championship.
North Moore won two games in the 1A state playoffs — dropping North Rowan and Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy — before falling to Avery County in the third round.
They finished with a 15-5-2 overall record and 12-1-2 in the YVC.
The Lady Mustangs are ranked eighth in the latest 1A girls’ poll on eurosportscoreboard.com. Horwath believes his team will be in the running for a conference title if it can remain healthy throughout the season, but said it lacks depth. The strength of the team is its defense. Offense could be a concern, but Horwath said he has a couple of backs — Paige Garner and Maria Urquiza — he can move up to forward and have the ability to score.
“Obviously, if we can get a goal or two lead, defensively we did not yield that many goals last year,” he said.
North Moore lost all-state keeper Hillary Walters — who surrendered just 21 goals in 22 games last season — to graduation, requiring Dara Forrest and Ester Pascaul to step in. Horwath said both have different attributes that make them solid in the net. Brittany Stutts will be anchoring the North Moore defense. Castrejon, a center midfielder, was North Moore’s other all-state selection last year.
Horwath expects his team to be in the YVC title mix with East Montgomery, Gray Stone and North Rowan.
North Moore hosts West Montgomery Monday at 6:30 p.m.
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