Forbush High’s girls soccer team trailed for the first time this season during a non-conference clash with Trinity last Thursday.
But the Falcons’ deficit proved short-lived and the pursuit of a perfect regular season remains very much alive.
Junior standout Jessica Baity netted the tying shot just a few minutes after Trinity’s early goal, then earned what would be the game-winner in highlight-reel fashion late in the opening half.
Forbush held on for a 2-1 victory, its closest victory margin since a 1-0 defeat of Cardinal Gibbons a month ago. That win, combined with Monday’s 7-1 triumph over Starmount, lifts the Falcons to 18-0, 10-0 against Mountain Valley 1A/2A opponents entering tonight’s (Thursday’s) game against Elkin.
“It was the first time and hopefully the last time down,” Forbush coach Kenan James said.
The Falcons knew Trinity (11-4-1) would be a stern test. The Bulldogs played in the 3A classification a year ago, posting an 18-2-1 overall record. Trinity has been ranked in the top 15 among 2A schools this season, including a No. 12 ranking coming into this week.
Forbush’s defense tightened up after an early foray into its backline produced a Trinity goal. For much of the rest of the game, the Falcons stayed on the attack.
Things seemed much more relaxed on the FHS sideline after Baity’s first goal.
Leticia Patino helped set up the second score, driving into the heart of the Trinity defense and drawing the keeper out of the net. Patino’s shot from the right side got lost amid defenders, but a crashing Baity finished things off.
While on the ground in front of the goal, with two Trinity players falling around her, Baity managed a wrap-around kick with her left foot. She got just enough leg on it that the ball crossed the end line just before the recovering keeper could make a save.
It was one of the most dramatic goals of the season by far.
Forbush had several other chances to tack on to the lead but Trinity’s defense held firm.
Starmount held the Falcons back for about 20 minutes in Monday’s clash. But then the floodgates opened, led by Patino, a fleet-footed forward.
Patino scored goals at the 20-, 22- and 24-minute marks of the first half to put the Falcons in firm command. Maricela Morales scored for Starmount at the 27-minute mark, but Forbush answered right before the halftime whistle with a goal from Jessica Tucker.
Jessica Baity, Kayla Cline and Lindsey Lineberry all scored in the second half for the Falcons. Jennifer “Jibba” Baity had a pair of assists. Katelynd Caudle, Sheridan Caudle and Jennifer Jones also assisted scores.
Forbush has six more games left on its regular season schedule. The Falcons will visit Hibriten (9-5) in a non-conference duel on Friday. Forbush beat Hibriten 2-1 in last year’s 2A playoff quarterfinals.
A conference game with Wilkes Central looms next Thursday at home, followed by a home game against 4A Watauga (May 3) and two road trips to conference rivals East Wilkes (May 4) and Ashe County (May 6).
Winning the MVAC championship will bring with it the reward of a first-round bye in the state playoffs. Forbush would then have at least two chances to play at home, possibly more, in its quest to return to the state championship game for the third year in a row.
UPDATE: The Falcons beat Elkin 4-0 at home on Thursday night. Jessica Baity scored twice. Jennifer Baity and Leticia Patino each had one goal.
Forbush outshot the Elks 23-3. Elkin keeper Elizabeth Thornburg had a solid game despite the final score, making 19 saves.
Jennifer Baity and Katelynd Caudle each had assists.