Laura Sparling's goal with 10 minutes left in the first half gave Carrboro the cushion it needed to hold of Southwest Onslow 1-0 on Saturday night in the fourth round of of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2-A girls' soccer playoffs.
"We hadn't got many chances and I thought I might as well chip it and luckily it went in," Sparling said. "It was huge relief (to score early). A lot of our goals have come in overtime or at the end of the game. It was a weight off our shoulders and it let us possess the ball a little more the rest of the game and not give up any chances."
Sparling lofted a shot from the left side with her left foot over Southwest Onslow goalkeeper Ty'resa Brown for the only goal of the game.
"It was a great opportunity," Carrboro coach Jared Drexler said. "I think Mia (Araba) played one to Laura and she made a great finish. We didn't have a ton of chances and we were glad to get the goal. It was a beautiful setup and a beautiful shot."
After the Jaguars scored, they kept the pressure on Southwest Onslow, which had not allowed a goal in its last four games, including three in the playoffs. Carrboro did a good job of possessing the ball and keeping it away from Southwest Onslow (16-5-3).
Carrboro (19-1-1) extended its winning streak to 17 games and goalkeeper Grace Nanney recorded the shutout. The Jaguars will return to action on Tuesday night in the 2-A East Region finals where they'll host the winner between Clinton and Dixon. Last year, Carrboro defeated Clinton en route to their second straight state championship.
"Whoever we play, Dixon or Clinton, it's going to take a complete team effort," Drexler said.
The Jaguars played without senior midfielder Natasha Turner, who suffered a foot injury in their last game and is out for the rest of the playoffs.
"It was a gutsy effort," Drexler said. "We've been bitten by the injury bug and lost another starter two minutes into this game. We've got some players out of position and we're basically just doing what needs to be done to win. I don't care if it looks ugly, we'll take a win any way we can get it at this point."