REYNOLDS – One hundred minutes of soccer did not settle much Monday night.
And it’s no major revelation that Asheville High and Reynolds are once again two of the premier girls teams in the Mountain Athletic Conference. The Buncombe County rivals knew that before and after playing to a 2-2 tie inside Dalton Stadium.
Kenzie McDowell’s goal for the Cougars with just 1 minute, 55 seconds to go in the second overtime was the equalizer.
“I thought the play was great from both sides tonight. Both teams played hard, and with a lot of heart,” Asheville coach Mike Flowe said.
“I’m sure both teams wish they would have settled down a little and passed better. But all in all, that was two great teams out there.”
The defending 3-A state champion Rockets (5-1-3, 2-0-1) are third in this week’s N.C. Soccer Coaches Association rankings, while the Cougars (6-1-1, 1-0-1) are eighth.
Their first meeting of the season (the rematch is April 20 at Asheville) was tied 1-1 at the end of regulation. Sarah Sirkin gave the Cougars an early 1-0 lead. She lofted in a ball from 20 yards out with 3:12 remaining in the first half.
Reynolds’ Christina Shimshock scored off an assist from fellow Lenoir-Rhyne recruit Kaley Cross with 16:50 to go in the second half. And it looked like the Rockets might be headed for a big home win when Pali Smith uncorked a missile into the back of the net with 9:24 remaining in the second overtime.
It was not meant to be. McDowell dribbled across the box and shot from about 12 yards out to forge a tie.
Shimshock and Asheville’s Olivia Lenderman also had assists. The Cougars outshot the Rockets, 17-14, and neither keeper – Asheville’s Lia Messersmith and Reynolds’ Brooke Reaves – allowed anything past them in the first overtime. Regular-season games in the MAC only consist of two 10-minute overtime periods.
The Rockets had two goals waived off for offsides calls.
“It was a good game, it had all the stuff you want to see out of an early-season rivalry game like this,” Reynolds coach Patrick Gladys said.
“It should be another fun spring season in the MAC.”
Messersmith and Kaileigh Mora are captains for the Cougars, who only have two other seniors — Claire Cole and Rosemary Mosher.
By contrast, the Rockets have a huge class of 12th-grade players — Cross, Reaves, Shimshock, Miranda Rash, Karissa Grooms, Ashlyn Perkins, Jordan Melvin, Sarah Swicegoood, Celine Jacobi Barham and Caroline Hargadon.