RALEIGH -- Four North Carolina High School Athletic Association women's state soccer championships will be decided this weekend in the 27th annual NCHSAA finals at Dail Soccer Field at North Carolina State University.
One game is scheduled for Friday, with the 1-A championship set, and then the other three finals will be played on Saturday.. This will be the sixth year for a separate 1-A championship since the number of schools playing the sport increased to the threshold for having a separate championship.
All four of the games will be televised by Time Warner Cable and available on Carolina on Demand, digital channel 199 or 1047 on Time Warner systems across the state, within a couple of days after the championships.
Friday’s game will start at 7:30 p.m. for the 1-A title between Southwest Onslow (14-5-2) and Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy of Mooresboro (18-4). Thomas Jefferson is making its first appearance ever in any NCHSAA team championship while Southwest Onslow is in the women's soccer final for the third straight year, with a championship in 2010.
Southwest standout Jamie Berti scored a goal in overtime to lift the Onslow County school to a 1-0 overtime victory over Raleigh Charter in the Eastern finals and advance to the championship. She leads the Stallions with 21 goals on the year.
Thomas Jefferson will counter with Anna Dedmon, who has tallied 44 goals this season and 118 for her career at TJCA.
The 4-A game will kick off Saturday's action at 11 am and will pit two of the nation's top teams against one another, according to an ESPN poll. Cary Green Hope (25-0) will take on Cornelius W.A. Hough (25-0-1), with both teams in the NCHSAA championship for the first time.
Green Hope has been dominant all year, scoring a whopping 124 goals on the season while giving up just nine and the Falcons have outscored the opposition 27-1 in the state playoffs. Alexis Shaffer of Green Hope was the Tri-Nine Conference Player of the Year and Alexis Degler leads the team with 35 goals.
Hough, in just its second year of operation and with its first senior class, has won 24 in a row since a tie with Charlotte Myers Park in the second match of the season. Allison Stearns is the I-Meck Confernece Player of the Year and goalkeeper Marnie Merritt has recorded 16 shutouts.
The second game Saturday is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start for the 3-A championship, sending a couple of perennial powers against one another as Jacksonville White Oak (22-2-2) takes on Charlotte Catholic (25-1-1).
Defending champion Catholic is in the finals for the seventh time, with a 3-3 mark in previous title games. Jane Cline is the big offensive threat for the Cougars, leading the team in goals (40) and assists (18).
White Oak is also making its seventh appearance in the championship and has earned five previous titles. The Lady Vikings have a tremendous scorer in Jodi Barber, who has knocked in 57 goals this season, but amazingly 19 different players have scored at least one goal for White Oak this season.
The Saturday tripleheader will close with the 2-A title match starting at 5 p.m. in a rematch of last year's 2-A final won by Cuthbertson on penalty kicks.
Carrboro's Jaguars (20-1-2) knocked off Swansboro, a perennial power which won state titles in 2009 and '10 and was bidding to be a third Onslow County team in the finals, by a 5-1 count on Tuesday night. Kylie Tawney, the Carolina 12 Conference Player of the Year, and Samantha Burch, with a team-high 42 goals this season, lead the Jaguars.
Cuthbertson (20-4-1), in just its third year of existence, is in the state championship match for the second consecutive year and advanced by beating South Iredell 2-0 in the Western finals on Wednesday night. The Cavaliers are led by their three seniors, Marisa Pagan, Tiffany Walker and Alex Duty.
The Raleigh Sports Consortium serves as the primary host city partner for the women's soccer championship, along with the Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau.
NORTH CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
27th ANNUAL WOMEN'S SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS
DAIL SOCCER FIELD, NORTH CAROLINA STATE
FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2012
Class A: Southwest Onslow (14-5-2) vs. Mooresboro Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy (18-4), 7:30 pm
SATURDAY, MAY 26, 2012
Class AAAA: Cary Green Hope (25-0) vs. Cornelius W.A. Hough (25-0-1), 11 am
Class AAA: Jacksonville White Oak (22-2-2) vs. Charlotte Catholic (25-1-1), 2 pm
Class AA: Carrboro (20-1-2) vs. Waxhaw Cuthbertson (20-4-1), 5 pm
Event: NCHSAA Women's Soccer Championships
Date: May 25-26, 2012
Site: Dail Soccer Field, North Carolina State University
Game Times: 7: 7:30 pm Friday; 11 am, 2 pm, 5 pm on Saturday
Admission: $8 at gate
First Held: 1986
Qualifiers: Eastern and Western champions meet for state titles; 64 schools qualified for playoffs in 2-A, 3-A and 4-A classifications, and 32 in 1-A
Defending champions: Raleigh Leesville Road (4-A), Charlotte Catholic (3-A), Waxhaw Cuthbertson (2-A), Monroe Central Academy of Technology and Arts (1-A)
Host City Sponsors: Raleigh Sports Consortium, Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau
Of Interest: Raleigh Broughton with 13 and Greensboro Grimsley with 12 have the most appearances in the NCHSAA women’s soccer championships.