MOREHEAD CITY — The goal Wednesday for the West Carteret girls soccer team against East Duplin was to put the two weekend losses from The Brittany Showcase behind it.
After trailing 1-0 in the first half, the Patriots (4-3) kicked it into gear and scored four straight goals to finish with a 4-1 victory.
The final goal difference was the team’s biggest since an 8-0 win over Northside-Jacksonville in the season opener.
“We looked really good tonight,” West coach Cory Noe said. “That was a quality win after a tough weekend at The Brittany. They were hungry to fix those mistakes.”
The Patriots continued to fix those mistakes Friday night at Northern Nash (4-2) with a 5-2 victory and improve their record to 5-3. West took a 2-0 halftime lead and then outscored the Knights 3-2 after intermission. No individual stats were available.
In the game against East Duplin, Katelyn Jones gave the Panthers (2-4-2) a quick lead in the first half with a goal that deflected off a defender and found its way past West keeper Chloe Dunn, who finished the night with seven saves.
“That’s when we turned up the pressure,” Noe said. “We equalized a few minutes later and stayed aggressive. That’s what we want, the pattern of play to stay the same no matter if we’re winning or losing.”
West struck back with a Mary Neal Rowland goal in the 26th minute. Sasha Baker slotted a goal in the 35th minute, and Ruby Parker scored in the 39th to give West a two-goal lead at the break.
Noe noted that East Duplin had marked the Patriots’ top forwards – Sam Huber, Rowland and Baker – but that it allowed for some more movement from the midfield.
“That opened things up for some of our midfield girls to come up and attack,” Noe said. “We’re really feeling the attacking rhythm right now. They’re trusting the system because they see it’s working.”
The head coach also praised the defense for “cleaning things up” after the goal against in the first half. The solid performance of the back line allowed him to move Emily Langley up from center back into the forward position.
“She rewarded it with a spectacular goal,” Noe said. “That kind of goal is not what you expect from a center back.”
That was Langley’s first goal of the season. Sam Huber leads the club with seven goals while Rowland has five and Baker three.
The Patriots will travel to Northern Nash (4-1) on Friday this week and then host East Carteret (2-4) on Tuesday.
The Patriots haven’t beaten the Mariners since the 2018 season. The two teams tied 0-0 last season, while East won 2-0 in 2021 and 1-0 in 2019.
The Patriots will start 3A Coastal Conference play on Tuesday, March 28 with a game at Richlands (6-1-1).
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