WILMINGTON — Sanderson’s girls soccer team’s playoff run ended at Hoggard Saturday as the Spartans lost 1-0 in the fourth round of the NCHSAA 4A tournament.
Head coach Todd Worley was proud of the Spartans’ (15-6-2) effort throughout the year and during their playoff run.
“They are a tough group,” Worley said. “They played together as one and they tried hard. Tonight we had a few passes here and there that we should have made, but I’m proud of the girls and the season they had.”
Hoggard was in attacking position for most of the first half, but the Sanderson defense stood strong, not allowing a single goal as the first half ended scoreless for both teams. Anchoring that Spartans’ defense was senior goalkeeper Kiley Coster, who had five saves in the first half.
Hoggard took the lead when junior midfielder Sayres McKenna scored an unassisted goal in the 66th minute.
Worley mentioned that his team did not play with the same intensity as they had in recent games. Sanderson, a No. 15 seed, had won seven consecutive games heading into the weekend to face No. 3 Hoggard (22-2-2).
“We were a little bit out of our character,” Worley said. “I’m not saying we played bad, it’s just that we did some things that we normally don’t do. We were just a little out of it and I don’t know why. Hoggard was the better team tonight so there was no issues. ... We had a lot of miscues, but we were good defensively. There wasn't a whole lot of offense, but Hoggard did have the runners going in and we struggled with trying to figure them out, missing assignments and not playing the way we needed to.”
Sanderson was a bit of an underdog heading in to the game. Hoggard is ranked in the top 10 in the state as well as nationally. The Vikings advance to face Panther Creek, a 4-0 winner over East Chapel Hill on Friday, in the NCHSAA 4A East Regional finals. The winner of that matchup will go on to the state championship.