Catawba Ridge’s Kyleen Bents hits a shot passed the Greenwood keeper in Thursday’s playoff match. Photos by Rob Upton

Junior striker Kayla Fonseca brings a ‘never-say-die’ attitude to Catawba Ridge’s girls soccer team, according to head coach Joe Dority.

She is also a real threat in front of goal for the Copperheads, who improved to 19-4 on the season. Fonseca scored the go-ahead goal in a 3-0 win over Greenwood Thursday night in the second round of the Class 4A state tournament.

Fonseca, who suffered a broken collarbone in the preseason, returned this week to score just before halftime, while teammate Kyleen Bents notched a brace, helping second-ranked Catawba Ridge reach the state quarterfinals.

They’ll face top-ranked Eastside (19-2), who swept past Easley 3-0 in their second-round matchup, in Taylors on Saturday.

“It’ll be huge,” Dority said. “Whoever executes their game plan and capitalizes on the other team’s mistakes, that’ll be the difference. We respect those guys, and we think they respect us. We’ll pack it in and give it a go.”

Catawba Ridge was in control from the beginning, stringing passes and attacks equally from both wings.
Brooks Dority had a chance from just inside the Greenwood penalty box, but her deflected shot fell to the Eagles’ goalkeeper.

Sadie Commerford had back-to-back shots from about the same area of the pitch about five minutes later, but both of them flew wide of the post.

Kyleen Bents and Sarah Sexton each showed plenty of talent by out dribbling their defender and launching hard shots at the Greenwood keeper, but neither found the back of the net.

Catawba Ridge finally found paydirt a minute before halftime. Sadie Commerford started a fast break from one end of the field to the other, found Fonseca with a well-timed cross, and Fonseca cut inside before finishing low inside the Greenwood far post to put the Copperheads up 1-0.

The second half was even more one-sided. Catawba Ridge doubled its lead in the 54th minute when the Greenwood goalkeeper and a defender had a defensive mix-up, leading Bents to convert into an open net.

Bents then picked up her second goal of the night, this time benefiting from a poor defensive effort from a cross. Bents was at the back post when the ball fell to her feet, and she couldn’t miss from eight yards out.

“The goals we scored, it wasn’t about sitting back,” Dority said. “We got them to open up, we created space, and we capitalized. We also missed our fair share of goal and opportunities, but we took the chances we had.”

Dority said Bents has 42 goals on the season so far, while teammate Sarah Sexton has at least 35 assists. 

The Copperheads advanced to the third round of the 4A playoffs giving them a lot to smile about Thursday.