In a season that coach Mark Apgar labeled “up-and-down,” the SouthLake Christian Academy girls soccer team found its upswing at the right time. The Eagles’ 14-5-1 record entering a second-round Metrolina Athletic Conference playoff game with Westminster Catawba Christian on May 3 wasn’t too bad of a mark for Apgar and his powerhouse soccer program.
A big part of the Eagles’ success in 2011 has been the potent combination of forwards Bethany Spano and Emily Lipinski. Spano (22 goals) and Lipinski (17) have combined for a large chunk of SouthLake’s scoring, and they pose serious matchup problems for other teams.
“Just the pressure (Spano and Lipinski) put on the other teams to stop them has been good for us,” said Apgar. “I’ve always believed the best defense is a good offense.”
After a midseason slump that Apgar said was due to teams focusing solely on stopping Spano and Lipinski, he brought Ashton Rotella from the back to midfield, and SouthLake’s offense regained its firepower.
“Ashton is a good communicator, and since she moved from the back she’s brought a physical play to midfield that we didn’t have before,” said Apgar.
The Eagles’ second-place finish in the MAC regular-season standings wasn’t quite what Apgar and the team had hoped for after early-season success set the tone for high expectations. According to Apgar, the Eagles’ signature win during their first 20 games wasn’t even a win, but a tie.
“We tied Caldwell Academy, 2-2 (on March 21), and they’ve been one of the best in the state,” said Apgar. “That showed how tough we are, and I hope we stay that way.”