SOCCER: Polk rebounds from early R-S Central goal to notch conference triumph

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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Polk County gave up an early goal to R-S Central, then kept the Hilltoppers in check in fighting back for a 2-1 win Tuesday in Mountain Foothills 7 Conference girls soccer play in Rutherfordton.

The Wolverines (8-4-3, 6-3) gave up an early goal to an outstanding individual effort by R-S Central’s Olive Gosnell, who saved a ball from rolling out of bounds on the left side, cut back inside, worked through two defenders and dribbled deep into the box before striking a drive just inside the right post, giving the Hilltoppers a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute.

R-S Central (2-7-2, 2-7) made that lead stand until the 26th minute. Elena Carroll intercepted a Hilltopper throw-in near midfield, bumping the ball forward to Caroline Taylor, who lofted a pass downfield. Hayden Blackwell won the race to the free ball and, with the R-S Central goalkeeper near the top of the penalty area, chipped a shot over the keeper’s head that rolled into the net to even the match.

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The score stayed tied until the final minute of the half, when Taylor struck a low, hard corner kick that ricocheted off an R-S Central defender and into the net for what proved to be the winning goal.

Tuesday’s win followed a tough 4-2 loss on Friday at Hendersonville. Taylor scored early in the match to give Polk a 1-0 lead, but Maggie Bish connected on a pair of goals to boost the Bearcats in front, with Maddie Coble scoring late in the half to make it 3-1 at the break.

Taylor connected on a long strike in the 63rd minute to cut the Bearcat lead to one, but Bish scored on a header off a corner kick in the waning minutes to secure the win.