Catawba Ridge midfielder Kyleen Bents scored two second-half goals, including what would end up being the 3-2 game-winner, in a spirited non-region home match against Clover Friday night at The Pit.
Bents, a sophomore, has missed most of this season with a broken clavicle, according to Catawba Ridge head coach Brandon Schmidt. But the midfielder has since fully recovered from her injury and made an impact in the final game of the regular season.
As the Copperheads, now 14-3 overall and 7-1 Region 3-4A, look toward the postseason, Bents said she feels like her team is clicking at the right time.
“It was good to get another win under our belt,” she said. “We do everything together as a team. This showcases what we can do.”
Alexa Dubrow opened the scoring for Catawba Ridge within the first minute. She pounced on a loose ball inside the Clover penalty box and finished smartly from eight yards out to give the Copperheads an early lead.
But Clover quickly equalized six minutes later through freshman Addison Peoples. The center midfielder took control of an out swinging corner kick from senior Olivia McPherson and beat goalkeeper Shyann Holt at her near post from close range.
Bents nearly gave the Copperheads a 2-1 lead in the 27th minute when she drew Clover goalkeeper Olivia Garver out of her net and played a hard shot across the frame, but the ball trickled past the near post and out of danger.
The game was scheduled as a final tune-up for both teams before they head into the first round of their respective state tournaments. Clover, which earned a No. 1 seed in the Class 5A playoffs, will host Northwestern May 3.
Catawba Ridge, which earned a No. 2 seed in the Class 4A playoffs, will host Greer 6:30 p.m. May 3 in the first round.
Schmidt said he wanted his team to work out a few kinks before the playoffs began. He said he wanted to focus on playing to teammates’ feet and playing with urgency.
“We knew it would be a really high tempo match,” he said.
The Copperheads have high aspirations, Schmidt said. Catawba Ridge reached the state title game last year, falling to James Island 1-0 in Columbia.
Bents figures to be an important part of those goals. The sophomore gave Catawba Ridge a 2-1 lead in the 50th minute when she buried her own rebound on the left wing.
And she made it 3-1 just a few minutes later when she gathered a cross from Ruby Stayduhar and slid the ball past the onrushing keeper.
Clover clawed back a consolation goal in the 67th minute when senior Rachel Smith touched the ball into the net following a long cross from the far side that hit the Catawba Ridge crossbar and rebounded back into play.
“She’s an amazing player,” Schmidt said. “So dynamic. We haven’t had her all season, and her first game back was (April 19) against Nation Ford. She’ll help take us to the next level.”