By TARAN SWIMMER
Cherokee Central Schools
MINT HILL, N.C. – The Cherokee High School (CHS) women’s varsity soccer team (seeded #25) traveled to Queen’s Grant (seeded #8) for the first round of the NCHSAA 1A State Playoffs on Monday, May 15 and came away with an historic victory.
The Lady Braves played from behind as Queen’s Grant scored first in the second half of regulation time. Shelby Solis, Lady Braves junior forward, would find her way past the defense to shoot a goal in the bottom right corner of the box with around 10 mins remaining.
Regulation time would end with the score tied at 1-1. In the first overtime, Lady Braves senior Jaylynne Esquivel would get a free kick at the top of the box. Esquivel would find the bottom right pocket to make it 2-1, Cherokee.
Second overtime ended with Queen’s Grant managing to get past Cherokee’s Junior Goalkeeper, Loshi Ward. The OT ended with the game in another tie at 2-2. Both teams went into Golden Goal 5-minute halves, which is the first to score wins. The time ended with the game still at a tie.
A penalty kick shootout followed and both teams battled it out, going as far as the seventh shooter. Solis would be the first to score for the Lady Braves, followed by Lilah Reynolds (senior), and Esquivel. Three of the Lady Braves shooters missed the goal by inches as it went over the top of the goal or hit the crossbar.
Ward was the wall for the Lady Braves as she saved three shots on goal to bring the team to the final game-winning kick. Lily Ramos, Lady Braves sophomore, showed great composure as she placed her shot perfectly into the bottom left corner of the goal.
The game ended with a penalty kick shootout score of 6-5, Cherokee.
The Lady Braves rushed the field, and the fans who traveled over three hours cheered as the girls made history as the first soccer team from CHS to win a playoff game.
The Lady Braves will continue their playoff run on Thursday, May 18 as they play the #9 seed, South Davidson.