4A Women’s Soccer Championship
Cardinal Gibbons staves off Ardrey Kell in PKs
CARY, NC – Ardrey Kell outshot Cardinal Gibbons 31-7 in the match including 17-4 in shots on goal, but Cardinal Gibbons’ goalkeeper Rhian Lawrence came up with 15 saves and two big PK stops to lift the Crusaders to the program’s third State Championship and first in the 4A ranks.
Despite the overwhelming difference in shots taken, Cardinal Gibbons got on the board first, netting a goal in the 62nd minute when Lily Pryzwansky won the ball in the middle of the pitch and took a few dribbles into the open space just right of the center portion of the field and loosed a shot from 35 yards out that cleared the keeper and dropped below the bar into the net for a 1-0 lead.
Ardrey Kell continued their push late in regulation, desperately trying to tie the score and finally breaking through with just 1:45 to play. Carly Montgomery broke down the Gibbons defense along the left endline, she cut a cross back away from the goal and Taylor Suarez buried it in the lower right portion of the goal with the inside of her right foot to tie the game in the 78th minute.
Neither team was able to break the tie in the two overtime periods, and that sent the match into penalty kicks. The Crusaders stepped to the spot first and Pryzwansky knocked home the first chance before Ardrey Kell’s Suarez matched her make. In the second PK round, Sydney Hennesen made her kick for Gibbons and that brought Ellie Herrmann to the mark for the Knight’s second chance. Herrman hit a great shot towards the right post, but Lawrence guessed correctly and batted it down to give the Crusaders the edge through two kicks.
The next three kicks were all made, which put the pressure on Ardrey Kell’s Ellie Newman who needed a make to extend the PK session to the fifth round. Newman stepped up and hit a shot directed a little left of center and Lawrence was able to get a hand on it and tip it over the bar to end the match with the Crusaders winning 1-1 (4-2 PK).
Ardrey Kell finished the season 25-2-1. The Knights were 9-1-0 in the So Meck 4A where they won the league championship. The Knights won the program’s fourth Regional Championship, appearing in the State Championship Match for the first time since 2011.
Cardinal Gibbons wrapped the year 16-6-2. The Crusaders finished second in the Cap 6 4A at 6-3-1. The Crusaders won the Regional Championship for the sixth time in program history and collected the school’s third Women’s Soccer State Championship.
The NCHSAA is committed to recognizing and promoting outstanding sportsmanship and has partnered with NC Farm Bureau to recognize two athletes in each NCHSAA State Championship event with the 2022 NC Farm Bureau Sportsmanship Award. This year’s winners for 4A Women’s Soccer were Ellie Hermann from Ardrey Kell and Hailey Juhasz from Cardinal Gibbons
Courtesy of JAMES ALVERSON, AIC and Director of Media for the NCHSAA