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Lady Cougars miss opportunities, fall in third round

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SMITHFIELD — The Neuse Charter School girl soccer team had three shots hit the goal post and lost, 4-1, at home to Research Triangle High on Wednesday, May 15, in the third round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 1-A playoffs. A group of seniors that had few missed opportunities for the past two seasons, couldn’t find the net for the last 67 minutes of the game. The No. 4 seed in the East Region, the Lady Cougars (16-4), had 12 shots on goal as well as 10 good looks at the goal and didn’t get a shot off. “We had the shots, we had the opportunities,” Neuse Charter head coach Jonathan Gaskins said. Lady Cougars junior Dargan Harris scored the first goal in the 13th minute. The No. 12 Lady Raptors (14-4) of the 1-A Central Tar Heel Conference responded with a score by sophomore Amberlyn Baker. Gaskins said the tie score changed the mentality. The Lady Raptors scored three more goals in the second half.

The Lady Cougars were the champions of the 1-A Carolina Conference for the second straight year and made it to the third round a year after going to the fourth round. Gaskins said his senior class made huge strides for the six-year program. Gaskins said that when the seniors class began their careers as freshmen, the program had not won a game in conference play and now they’re 23-1 in the conference over the past two seasons. “These seniors mean a whole lot to this program,” Gaskins said. “They got the best of us tonight. The ball didn’t bounce our way tonight. I told them to walk off the field as champions. They’re winners.” The Lady Cougars will return their top goal scorers in Delaney and Dargan Harris plus top defender Daja Staton. “We’re in pretty good shape and we got some good freshmen coming up in the next class,” Gaskins said.