KNIGHTDALE — The Knights played a monsoon-like storm to their favor Tuesday as they defeated the Clayton girls soccer team 2-1 for their first win of the season.
The weather gave Knightdale (1-4-1 overall, 1-1 Greater Neuse River 4A) what head coach Collin Dalton said was a much-needed breather that was a factor in the outcome against the Comets (2-2, 1-1).
“It was fatigue,” Dalton said. “When we get tired, we stop thinking. After the halftime we came back a little bit refreshed and then we got tired again. And then, the break with the rain, we got refreshed again. The rests helped us clear our minds and get back to the game plan.”
A dry, sun-drenched field was the setting for much of the match, but the weather quickly turned foul with 14 minutes remaining and the score knotted at one goal each. Lightning struck and chaos ensued as the teams fled to shelter for a 30-minute delay.
“I was like, ‘Oh no, this is not going to end well,’” sophomore goalkeeper Tori Leech said. “We had so much intensity and we wanted this game so bad. I was afraid we weren’t going to finish it, and I felt like we deserved it.”
Senior forward Carly Mounts said the Knights revisited their gameplan of maintaining focus and staying hungry for a win during the hiatus. After being trounced by West Johnston 8-1 the last time they stepped on the field, they were determined not to let the contest with the Comets become another wash – wet weather aside.
“We were not about to run out in this rain and give into a little bit of pressure,” Mounts said. “We came out here to win and that’s what we did.”
Playing in a persistent downpour after play resumed, it was Mounts who took a pass from junior midfielder Morgan Wiggs and beat a defender for a one-on-one breakaway encounter with Clayton keeper Lauryn Kabrich. With a simple tap of her toe, Mounts was able to finish for the decisive goal with 10:39 left to play.
“We didn’t want it (against West Johnston), but tonight we wanted it,” Dalton said. “We’ve got to come out with the same energy every game.”
Mounts also set up the Knights’ first goal, fighting for a passing lane to eventual scorer and junior forward Elizabeth Snotherly. The goal 16 minutes into the game was the only score of the first half.
The Comets’ lone goal came 11 minutes into the second half, on a feed by Emilie Alioto and finish by Nicole Guerrero.
“The weather had no affect on the outcome of the game,” Clayton coach William Williams said. “(Knightdale) finished and we did not.”