RALEIGH — After East Carteret and Community School of Davidson played 110 minutes of soccer in the N.C. 1A state championship game Saturday – 80 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes in four overtimes – the teams lined up for penalty kicks.
CSD goalie Madison Good, a blonde-haired sophomore with red cheeks and a quick grin, jogged down to the goal and admitted she was scared to death.
Her team had never been to the state championship before. In fact, Community School of Davidson had never qualified for a state final in any team sport, and the Spartans were inches away from heartbreak or celebration. A lot of it would depend on well Good could handle five shots from East Carteret players standing just a few yards in front of her.
“Of course,” she said, “it’s scary.”
Facing East Carteret’s leading scorer, Meghan Nyberg, Good noticed that Nyberg kept looking to her right, which was Good’s left. Good got suddenly comfortable. She said she can dive more easily to her left than to her right. And she decided that she would dive left and hope she read Nyberg correctly.
Nyberg tried to kick to Good’s left. Good denied the attempt.
Next up came East Carteret’s second-leading scorer, Lindsay Thayer. Thayer didn’t have a tell the way Nyberg did, but it didn’t matter. Good was going to go right this time. She was going to trust her gut.
Good dove right. Thayer kicked left.
Good stopped her second kick in a row.
Meanwhile, Community School of Davidson didn’t miss. Anna LaVella, Eliza Robinson, Hayden Wheaton and Cassidy Haddock all scored. East Carteret got a score on its third try, but Haddock’s goal sealed it 2-1 and 4-1 on penalty kicks on a night when a lot of things were stacked against the Spartans.
The Spartans’ best player, sophomore Julia Grainda, broke her leg so badly in the Western Regional championship Tuesday that she watched the state final in a wheelchair, her right leg wrapped and elevated in front of her.
Grainda scored 23 goals this season and helped lead her team to an undefeated season. And then, just three minutes into the game, things got worse. East Carteret got a quick goal and Community School, down 1-0, looked a little rattled.
Good just knew her team would settle down.
“One of our first games of the year against Cannon School, we were down 2-0 at half,” she said. “And we came back and won. I knew we had it in us, with or without Julia. It’s a great loss but our team is not made up of one player. It’s all of us together. We wanted it so much.”
After the game, Good was named MVP and was brought to tears, with the crowd chanting her name. She was still so nervous that her hands were shaking holding the trophy. But walking across the field, she thought about what she had done and what might be in store and she looked up and grinned.
Community School of Davidson has one senior, nine sophomores, seven freshman and four juniors.
“This team has a lot in store,” she said. “I would just keep an eye on us. We’re going to be back for next year.”
Wertz: 704-612-9716; Twitter: @langstonwertzjr