Orange County

Carrboro girls soccer led by trio split by UNC-Duke rivalry

Carrboro's Natasha Turner (8) heads the ball alongside Leesville Road's Katie Groff (15) in Raleigh, N.C. on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Leesville Road won 3-0.
Carrboro's Natasha Turner (8) heads the ball alongside Leesville Road's Katie Groff (15) in Raleigh, N.C. on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Leesville Road won 3-0. newsobserver.com

Carrboro seniors Natasha Turner and Miah Araba have been playing together on club soccer teams since they were 9 years old and through four years of varsity with the Jaguars. Senior Laura Sparling joined their club team at age 11 and also is a fourth-year varsity player.

But they don’t take their time in purple and black this year, as the Jags aim for a third straight N.C. High School Athletic Association 2A title, for granted.

They’re going separate ways with college scholarships. Turner is committed to Duke and Araba and Sparling to North Carolina.

Oddly enough, they say they’ve been told Duke and North Carolina open against each other in the 2018 Nike Classic.

They won’t have to wait long to see each other, but will Araba and Sparling recognize Turner in dark blue and Turner her teammates in Carolina blue?

“It will be weird to see Tasha on the other side,” Araba said. “We’re going to be rivals in the future, but we’re still looking forward to playing against her.”

Added Sparling: “It won’t be that bad because we’re good friends.”

Although they earned scholarship offers as sophomores, there wasn’t much thought put into sticking together as a trio.

Turner is a Duke fan that attended Blue Devils camps from a young age. She was the first one to commit in April of 2015.

“I’ve always thought about going to Duke, but I didn’t know if it would happen,” Turner said. “They saw me in a Christmas Showcase and then reached out to me. I really like the school and they have great academics. It was an easy choice.”

Similarly, Araba and Sparling said they are North Carolina fans that grew up attending Tar Heels camps. Araba committed in May of 2015 and Sparling in June of 2015.

“(North Carolina coach) Anson (Dorrance) came to our high school games and saw us play,” Araba said. “UNC is great for school and soccer. I couldn’t turn it down.”

Added Sparling: “I wanted to go to UNC since I was little. When Anson offered I committed.”

Despite a 3-0 loss to Leesville Road, Carrboro has rebounded to go 4-1-1 to start the year with two wins over 4A schools. Araba said the team took encouragement from those games, even in holding Leesville scoreless for a half.

“We have a good team and we’re still looking forward to the rest of the season,” Araba said. “We like how we held them off in the first half.”

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