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Ashley girls soccer’s overtime comeback leads to first ever state championship appearance

The Ashley girls soccer team is heading to the NCHSAA 4A state championship for the first time in school history after defeating Chapel Hill 2-1 in overtime Tuesday.

The Screaming Eagles trailed for 79 minutes of play until the referee pointed to the spot and awarded a penalty kick after a Chapel Hill handball.

After some discussion on who would take the kick, Sophomore Savanah Manset lined up to take the shot. Filling her lungs with air and her mind with confidence, Manset slotted the ball into the bottom right corner of the net with poise and pace.

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“I felt pretty confident going into that,” Manset said. “I had my team supporting me, and when I walked up there, I knew what we wanted, and I knew that we needed to fight for each other.”

Ashley coach Erik Graf said he lets his players decide what to do in high-pressure situations.

“We kind of give the girls carte blanche to make decisions based on how they feel,” Graf said of the penalty kick. “These girls are high-level players, high-level characters, so as a result, something like this doesn’t faze them.”

The Screaming Eagles would score just moments later as sophomore Karina Peat slipped a shot past the Tigers goalkeeper two minutes into the first overtime period.

“We had so much expectation, but to actually win and go to the state playoffs is amazing,” Peat said. “We just wanted to give everything our all, we didn’t want to leave the field with any regrets.”

The win advances Ashley to 25-1 on the season, putting them in Friday’s state championship matchup against Andrew Kell in Greensboro. The school has not had a state championship appearance in any sport since 2007.

This article originally appeared on Wilmington StarNews: Ashley girls soccer advances to NCHSAA 4A state championship

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