CARY, N.C. -- It went down to penalty kicks after a very long night, and Waxhaw Cuthbertson outlasted Carrboro to take a 2-1 decision Friday in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state 2-A women's soccer championship game at WakeMed Soccer Park.
The start of the game was delayed an hour and 40 minutes by inclement weather, and then the teams battled through 110 minutes of grueling play, including the regulation 80, two 10-minute overtime periods and two five-minute sudden-victory periods.
Tied 1-1 at the end of regulation, neither team really threatened in the first two overtimes, although Carrboro had a corner kick in the final two minutes of each extra stanza. Then it finally went down to penalty kicks, with Cuthbertson prevailing 5-4 to earn the title.
Cuthbertson got on the scoreboard in the 31st minute as senior forward Leah Drawdy, who named the Most Valuable Player in the championship, connected on a penalty kick for her 58th goal of the season. A handball was called in the box as the Cavaliers were mounting a counter attack and had crossed the ball toward the middle.
The contest was intense, with each team making good runs and challenging to score. Applying tremendous pressure in the final 10 minutes, Carrboro finally got the dramatic game-tying goal with just under two minutes to play, when junior midfielder Francesca Perone chased down a rebound that got loose and crossed it to freshman Caroline Houser, who knocked in the equalizer.
Both Carrboro and Cuthbertson, relatively new schools, were playing in their first NCHSAA women's soccer final. Cuthbertson is a school in only its second year of operation, while Carrboro opened in 2007. The Jaguars knocked off two-time defending state champion Swansboro in the Eastern Regional final.
Cuthbertson won its last 15 in a row and finished 26-2 overall. Carrboro was unbeaten in its last 19 contests prior to the final and wound up with a 17-3-3 mark.