The Greenbrier High School soccer teams began successful defenses of their 2012 region titles on Wednesday.
In their first game of the year facing the Evans Lady Knights, the Lady Wolfpack made a 3-2 lead hold up while the Wolfpack followed with a 1-0 shutout.
On a field that was soft from the week’s rains, the Lady Wolfpack’s win was in doubt until the final seconds.
Following a handball, Evans’ Caroline Edmonds took a penalty shot with 10 seconds left in the game.
Greenbrier goalkeeper Gabby Meyering knocked down the shot at the right corner of the goal, then corralled the loose ball as time ran out.
“Gabby (Meyering) made a great save on that penalty kick,” Greenbrier head coach Wes Kendrick said. “This was only her second game in goal and she got some great experience.”
Evans head coach Kevin Musick was proud of his team and Edmonds.
“Caroline is our best player and these things happen in games,” he said of her penalty kick.
Great teamwork produced the game-winning goal with 31:38 left.
Emily Ludwig fed Katie Belser on the right side of the field. She found Raven Rose, who blasted a rocket into the left corner past Evans goalie Katie Smith.
“Katie worked hard all game and she got us the winning goal and Raven had a good finish,” Ludwig said.
The Lady Wolfpack controlled play in the first half, but the Lady Knights (2-2, 0-1 Region 2A-AAAAA) went into the break tied at 2.
Stephanie Mixon got the Lady Knights on the board first.
Edmonds created a turnover in Greenbrier’s end of the field and fired a shot that Meyering was able to block away, but the rebound went to Mixon who fired it into the open net at the 32-minute mark.
Greenbrier evened it at 27:52 when a deep throw-in went to Ludwig, who headed it to Ashton Bowles for the score.
Almost six minutes later, Rose took a corner kick and directed it to Ludwig, who headed it into the net as the Lady Wolfpack took a 2-1 lead.
After Belser went past a fallen defender and just missed scoring, the Lady Knights knotted the score at 6:15 on a free kick from Bailee Munnerlyn.
In the boys game, Greenbrier head coach Chip Wilkins wanted to see what his team would do in its region opener after losing key pieces from last year’s squad.
The Wolfpack (2-1, 1-0) missed some chances in the first half, but with 27:39 to play, they would not be denied. Logan Tihey took the corner kick from the left side and placed it to Michael Harris in front who headed it home for the game-winner.
“I liked the way they responded,” said Warren. “They had some chances in the first half and just didn’t execute. Our goalkeeper Thomas Rodenbaugh made a couple of saves that kept us in the game early.”
Rodenbaugh recorded six saves.
Evans head coach Brian Killips was pleased with his team’s effort, noting that it was a very good team they were playing, and likes how his team is progressing.
“I’m most concerned about getting better as the season goes on and we’re better than we were last week,” said Killips. “They didn’t win the No. 1 seed and we didn’t lose the No. 1 seed tonight.”
Having to fit different pieces in the early part of the season, Killips had Jake Rizner, whom he called his best sweeper, in goal and the Evans (1-1, 0-1) keeper helped keep his team in the game with eight saves.