McHale’s goal helps Cox Mill ‘head’ to 3A soccer Final Four | Sports

CONCORD—It may not have been in the dominating fashion as its previous playoff wins, but the Cox Mill High School girls soccer team got the job done on Friday night, defeating Marvin Ridge, 1-0, to reach the quarterfinals of the Class 3A state tournament.

Cox Mill (23-2) and Marvin Ridge (16-6-2) battled each other to a stalemate that lasted for the game’s opening 42 minutes before the Chargers finally broke through in the 43rd.

Madison Greenhall sent a corner kick near the net that Sarah McHale headed past Mavericks goalkeeper Juliana Lombard for the lone score of the match.

“We came out here, and we knew Marvin Ridge was a very talented team,” Cox Mill coach Kellie Pierrot said. “So it wasn’t going to be (a game) where we just run right over them.”

Last season, the Chargers defeated the Mavericks, 4-1, in the third round. This matchup was dictated by defense for both teams, but the Chargers pulled off another win.

“We had to stay disciplined, stay in our line, and they really tested us,” Cox Mill goalkeeper Naomi Fountain said. “But I’m glad we pushed through.”

Marvin Ridge, a team that scored a second-round upset over Gastonia Forestview, applied offensive pressure throughout the contest, making Cox Mill expend energy on defense.

Fountain believes this game was a good test for Cox Mill and indicative of what it can expect as it enters the Final Four.

“I think it was good,” Fountain said. “I think that’s how it’s going to be in the Final Four and the championship if we get there. And so I think it’s good practice for us to get in that kind of mentality where we’ve got to push through the whole game.”

Physicality was also the order of the night, as hard contact was seen and felt throughout the night. Two Cox Mill players—McKinley Meeks and McHale — went to the turf and had to be…

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