The Watauga High girls' soccer team claimed another victim Friday night. The Pioneers, searching for their first conference championship since 2007, knocked off Hibriten 5-1 Friday night in a Northwestern
3A/4A Conference game at Jack Groce Stadium.
The only blemish, the Pioneers (6-0-2 overall; 2-0 NW3A/4A) gave up a goal, only the second one they've given up all year and the first one they given up since March 11 (in a 1-1 tie with Forbush, the No.1 team in the state in Class 2A).
"Defense is my background," said WHS coach Brittany Bolick. "That's what I prided myself on as a player in college (Charleston Southern University). We play defense as a team. We force teams to take bad shots. If someone scores on us, or beats us, it's going to take a quality goal, a quality effort."
The Pioneers erupted offensively on Friday. Five different players scored, including senior Kat Welsh, who will sign her national letter of intent with Meredith University, a Division III school in Raleigh, N.C.
"We communicate very well together," said Welsh, a three-year varsity player. "And a lot of the credit goes to (coach) Bolick. She knows how to prepare us for a game. It's been a lot of fun, so far."
The Pioneers didn't waste any time putting Hibriten away as they scored four goals in less than 25 minutes.
Sierra Hill scored on a breakaway at the 15-minute mark that gave WHS a 1-0 lead; Madi Critcher scored four minutes later on a feed from Kass Alvarez; Heather Byrd scored on a cross from Hill just 60 seconds later, and Welsh capped off the run on a feed from Tori Derrick at the 23-minute mark to give the Pioneers a commanding 4-0 halftime lead.
Those two reversed roles with Derrick picking up a goal and Welsh the assist on WHS' finally tally at the 45-minute mark of the second half. The Panthers finally pushed one across just 11 minutes later.
The Pioneers will stay at home and play Patton, weather permitting, on Tuesday night.
The WHS junior varsity team defeated Hibriten 2-0 Friday night. Gracee Kleeberger and Finley Collins scored for the Pioneers.
WHS JV 2, HIBRITEN 0
Gracee Kleeberger in the 25th min.
Finley Collins in the 53rd min.
WHS Varsity 5, HIBRITEN 1
15th min: Sierra Hill on a breakaway
19th min: Madi Critcher from Kass Alvarez
20th min: Heather Byrd from a cross from Sierra Hill
23rd min: Kat Welsh from Tori Derrick
45th min: Tori Derrick from Kat Welsh
Hibriten 56th min. Breakaway
PANTHERS' LATE RALLY DOOMS PIONEERS
It's been that kind of season for the Watauga High softball team. The Pioneers (0-5 overall; 0-4 Northwestern 3A/4A Conference) blew a 4-1 third-inning lead and lost to Hibriten 12-7 Friday night in a NW3A/4A Conference game at the WHS Softball Complex.
A three-run homer by Michala McCune highlighted a four-run third inning and gave the Pioneers their 4-1 lead. But the Panthers came charging back and recaptured the lead thanks to four runs of their own in the top of the fourth.
WHS tied the game at 5-5 on a run-scoring single by Kristin Gill. But it all fell apart for WHS in the sixth.
The Panthers jumped on top for good by scoring five times with nobody out. A two-run double by Anna Frye, and a pair of run-scoring singles by Emma Tuttle and Brittany Morton gave the Panthers a 10-5 lead.
Elizabeth Dollar answered for WHS with a two-run double in the bottom of the sixth, but a two-run single by Katie Bruce settled the issue in the seventh. McCune went the distance and suffered the loss.
She gave up 12 runs, 11 earned, with 14 hits with seven strikeouts. The Pioneers take on Patton at home Tuesday night.
HICKORY STAVES OFF WHS, 7-5
The Watauga High boys' lacrosse team didn't win on Friday night, but the effort was much better.
WHS (0-4 overall; 0-1 in District 9) lost to Hickory 7-5 at Leigh Wallace Memorial Field in a District 9 game. Canyon Mueller scored three goals to pace the Pioneers.
Zack Williams and Dylan Arbogast each had a goal apiece in the loss. Goaltender Andrew Stratton had 22 saves.
"We're getting better," said WHS coach Brett Green. "The effort and intensity are there. We just have to find a way to score more goals. Andrew Stratton played on heck of a game."
Hibriten 12, Watauga 7
Patton 7, Fred T. Foard 6
St. Stephens 18, Hickory 0
(Conference games only through Thursday, March 20)
St. Stephens 4-0
Spouth Caldwell (4A) 3-0
Fred T. Foard 3-1
Watauga (4A) 0-4
Fred T. Foard 4, Patton 0
St. Stephens 1, Hickory 0
South Caldwell 1, Freedom 0
Watauga 5, Hibriten 1
Hickory 7, Watauga 5