Senior midfielder Olivia McPherson scored the lone goal of the evening to help the Clover High School girls soccer team pick up a key 1-0 Region 3-5A road win over Nation Ford Wednesday night.
McPherson intercepted a mislaid pass from Nation Ford keeper Katelyn Carroll and the Blue Eagle striker was able to score from 25-yards out.
Try as they might, the Falcons, who fell to 10-6 overall and 3-2 in region play, could not push past the Clover defense and put together too many meaningful shots on goal.
Nation Ford coach Khrys Dundr said his team played well and had a high work rate, but believed his team didn’t push high enough up the field to create chances.
“When you make mistakes, good teams punish you,” Dundr said. “We weren’t good enough attacking, because we weren’t getting forward enough. You have to score goals if you want to win.”
With the road win, the Blue Eagles can consider themselves to be in the thick of a three-way battle for the region crown.
Clover is now 6-7-2 overall and 3-1 in region. They next host Fort Mill (8-3-3, 2-1 in region) Friday with a chance to jump into pole position in the region. Clover’s only region loss so far this season was at Fort Mill 2-1 in late March.
If Clover tops Fort Mill at Memorial Stadium, the Blue Eagles would have a 4-1 region record, while Fort Mill and Nation Ford would both sit at 3-2.
“The focus now is that we have to handle Fort Mill on Friday,” said Clover head coach Kelsey Geary. “They come to the nest on Friday, so we’re going to recuperate and recover. They’ll be up for it, Fort Mill will be up for it, so it should be a great game. We’re looking forward to it.”
Clover enjoyed much of the possession early in the first half. Junior striker Ariana Ivory had the best chance of the opening half when she hit an out swinging shot from just inside the Falcons penalty box. Carroll had to be quick on her feet to make a diving save to her right and deny Ivory.
But McPherson broke the deadlock nine minutes after the second half got underway. Her 25-yard shot beat Carroll to give the Blue Eagles a lead that they never looked likely to give up.
Nation Ford’s Karly Griffin registered a shot on goal in the 80th minute, but the Clover goalkeeper was able to quickly collect.
Clover has won the region each of the last five seasons. Last year, Nation Ford finished in second place in the region, just behind Clover. The Lady Falcons won two playoff games in 2021, reaching the Class 5A Upper State championship game before falling to J.L. Mann 1-0.
Nation Ford will be off next week as part of the district’s spring break holiday. The Falcons will be back in action at home against non-region South Pointe April 20 and against region foe Boiling Springs April 22.