Mills River – Bolstered by Marianne Maxon’s spectacular 57-goal season, West Henderson Lady Falcons won three 3A soccer rounds to go furthest in state playoffs among Henderson and Buncombe county public schools.
The Falcons finished 20-4-1, falling in round four by 4-0 at unbeaten South Point (23-0) Friday.
Three other local teams exited in round three. They are 2A Hendersonville (18-5), 3A Enka (12-10-1), and 4A T.C. Roberson (17-4-1; 12-0 MAC).
The Mountain Athletic Conference champion Lady Rams, a sixth seed, lost 2-1 at third seed Hough. Senior Kayla Graham and sophomores Kelly Gordon and Shayne Pratt paced TCR with 11-13 goals each.
Enka’s trio of double-digit goal scorers was led by Lizzie Anderson with 14.
Sharing second in the MAC at 8-2-2 were 4A schools Asheville (14-3-3 overall) and A.C. Reynolds (13-6-3). Iowa-bound Halle Skibo led ACR with 31 goals, while senior Grace Laws yielded 1.2 goals per game. Sophomore Lily Foo scored 16 goals, to pace three AHS Cougars in double digits. Owen (10-7-1) was second in the Western Highlands at 8-2. These three schools lost playoff openers.
Marianne Maxon scored a Lady Falcon record 57 goals in this season, including playoffs. The sophomore sensation forward averaged 2.5 goals and one assist per match, totaling 23 assists. She exceeded by ten goals Lydia Vandenbergh’s 1999 single-season West scoring record of 47 — set in the last Millennium. Maxon scores both by dribbling through defenses and blasting in long shots.
Emma Chavez, a junior, scored 32 goals — more than one per contest. Maxon and Chavez scored three-fourths of Falcon goals in ‘22. Chavez had 16 assists.
Senior goalkeeper Taylor Williams allowed mere .6 of one goal per game.
Third seed West shut out its first two playoff foes by 6-0 at home — local rival North Henderson, then Concord Spiders May 19 as Maxon scored four goals. West exploded for four goals in the second half.
Chavez and Maxon dribbled in close to the North Knight goal for multiple point-blank scoring shots. They hit the crossbar or side posts four times. Thus West nearly scored ten total goals that day.
The Falcons edged sixth seed North Davidson 2-1 on May 24 in round three — also at home. West trailed 1-0 at halftime, after “they put nine people in front of the goal,” veteran West soccer head coach Brian Brewer said.
West tied it as Maxon’s corner kick went to a perfect spot — dead center right in front of the net. Katie Barton headed it in to her left with 13 minutes to play. “Once we scored, all momentum shifted our way” as the offense found more room,” Brewer said. “We put pressure on the ball,” and NDHS had no shots on West’s goal in the second half.
Maxon scored the winning goal at the 6:34 mark. She blasted in a 30-yard shot from a very wide angle — arcing it over the goalkeeper’s reach. The outcome was “a done deal,” Brewer said.
He vowed that with returning ten starters in 2023, “we’ll be a handful.”
Maxon was all-state as a freshman in 2021, when her elder sister Caroline was also all-state as a West teammate.
Midfielder Caroline’s most distinctive “score” in ‘21 was academically, when nearing graduation. She was among merely 375 people out of 24,021 high school students worldwide to get a perfect score on the advanced placement research exam.
The exam consists of an essay of 4,000-5,000 words and oral presentation and defense. Her timely COVID-19 theme was researching potential correlation between politics and implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions in the influenza pandemic of 1918. The UNC-CH freshman majors in chemistry.
Early in the regular ‘22 soccer season, West beat crosstown rival Hendersonville 3-1 on March 17. HHS had an outstanding season, winning the inaugural Mountain Foothills crown with a perfect 12-0 mark. HHS also has a young squad, with merely four seniors among 23 varsity Lady Bearcats in ‘22.
The Lady Bearcats won two playoff rounds as a seventh seed. They put the iron boot to Maiden 9-0 and demolished Forest Hills 7-3. The Cats were ousted at unbeaten 2A West second seed Wheatmore by a 6-1 score.
Kayla Fadden, a 2006 West grad, is the fifth-year HHS head coach. She told the team after the playoff opener “you worked well together,” such as in “communication” and patient passing.
HHS senior Ali Garcia tallied 20 goals and 13 assists. Maggie Bish scored 15 times, and Aubrie Retzbach had 12 assists and seven goals. Those two sophomores and rising senior goalkeeper Laura Shelton are among cornerstones for the 2023 Lady Bearcats.
Annabelle Grymk is the sole senior who scored against Maiden. Mackenzie Sullivant score twice. Other scorers in that game are Julia Ledbetter, Emma Jones, Alayna Denny, Bish, and Michele Mahoney. Coach Fadden said “they’ve grown together” and should improve substantially by next season.