Saturday, May 15, 2010

Latin snares 3rd straight girls' state soccer title

Make it three straight girls’ soccer championships for Charlotte Latin.

Senior forward McCallie Jones’ goal in the 70th minute lifted the Hawks to a 1-0 win against rival Charlotte Country Day for the NCISAA 3A girls’ title. Latin, which finished the season 19-0, closed the way it had the previous two years – with a championship.

“They’re all wonderful, but this is the first time any team, boys or girls, has won three in a row for soccer,” said Jones, who has signed with College of Charleston. “It’s just great for the women to represent.”

“This senior class is the best senior class I’ve ever had with the girls, and I’ve coached almost all of them since they were 10 years old,” Latin coach Lee Horton said. “And my daughter (senior keeper Kristin Horton earned the shutout) being part of it made it really, really special.”

Latin, which went 3-0 against Country Day this season, had to earn everything it got against the Buccaneers (15-5-1). Country Day goalkeeper Katie Daniel frustrated the Hawks with a sterling effort that produced 11 saves before Jones’ shot settled over Daniel’s reach just below the crossbar. Senior forward McKay Kirkland set up the tally with a deft touch to left Jones who was uncontested.

“I ended up wide open,” Jones said. “It was like my mark was just busy with someone else and right when I hit it I knew it was in, like ‘It’s over.’”

Latin’s superior quickness produced 17 shots on goal compared to Country Day’s eight, but Daniel found ways to keep the Hawks in check.
The sophomore did some of her most impressive work in traffic, literally taking the ball off the foot of Latin shooters on a couple of attempts.

“Their keeper is great,” Jones said. “We were talking in the locker room that soccer is a game of inches, so it just happened mine was 2 inches below the goal and it went in.”

It helped that Latin’s seniors – all seven started – provided leadership and experience in their last high school match. The Hawks needed it against a determined rival.

“The worst-case scenario for us was to play Country Day again because they’re our rival, because they’re good and it’s tough to beat such a good team three times,” Horton said. “That makes this one even more special because I know how hard it is to beat a good team that many times.”

- Herb White