Wilmington, NC - After going down 1-0 in the first half, the Cape Fear women’s soccer team scored four to defeat Spartanburg Methodist 4-1, and clench the Region X regular season conference title.
After a slow start, Cape Fear got their first chance to score in the 4th minute. Following a turnover, Alaina Capps had a shot on goal, but she would put it right at the goalkeeper. Spartanburg nearly scored in the 12th minute, but the Sea Devils did just enough to force their opponents shot wide.
The early portion of the first half was very back and forth, with both teams maintaining possession for decent lengths of time.
Cape Fear looked best when attacking on the wings. Sophomore Alyssa Coustenis was able to beat her defender more than once to get into Spartanburg’s final third.
Goalkeeper Ali Bennett made a great save in 23nd minute to keep the game scoreless. The Pioneers’ Brittany Heri was found open on goal thanks to a through ball, but Bennett positioned herself well and blocked the shot. Bennett would make another great save in the 38th minute, diving to her left to stop a shot coming from straight on. Without Bennett, Cape Fear would have found themselves down by at least two goals in the first half.
While both teams had found opportunities to score, Spartanburg had created the better scoring chances, with Heri’s attempt being the closet yet. By the midway point of the first half, Spartanburg looked the stronger side. While the Sea Devils began to control possession again, they would be unable to capitalize.
Spartanburg would finally break the score open in the 41st minute. The Pioneers’ Daisey Wingard would send a shot high and over Bennett to put her team up 1-0. The half would end with the Sea Devils trailing by one goal.
Momentum would eventually shift in Cape Fear’s favor in the second half. At first, Spartanburg did a good job defending, making it difficult for Cape Fear to create meaningful attempts on goal. However, the Sea Devils continued applying pressure, and would eventually break through in the 59th minute, when Alaina Capps would tie the game off an assist from Emily Valenti. The goal was Alaina’s 6th of the season.
“Getting to halftime itself was the biggest turning point for us,” said assistant coach Chris Murray. “Being down 1-0 we knew we had to get the game back, and the players knew that as well, and they took it upon themselves, to come with the desire and passion needed to get the result.”
Immediately following the goal, Spartanburg’s Cyarah Dow-Wilson was issued a red card, reducing Spartanburg to 10 players. The moment would change the course of the game, as the Sea Devils would take advantage of having an extra player.