Lady Bearcats, ‘Foo Fighters’ Go Furthest in Soccer Playoffs - TribPapers

Lady Bearcats, ‘Foo Fighters’ Go Furthest in Soccer Playoffs

Hendersonville senior Eden Johnson (7) watches her rebound shot sail into the Owen net, in a 3-0 victory at home Monday. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

Hendersonville – Asheville lost 2-1 in double overtime in a 4A match, while 2A Hendersonville (HHS) fell 4-0 — also in a regional semifinal at home on a rainy Thursday.

A round earlier, West second seed Hendersonville (16-3-1; 11-0-1 MFC) beat Owen (8-7-3) 3-0.

Maxon Era Closes

Third-seeded West Henderson (21-2; 12-0) lost to Lake Norman Charter (LNCS) in round three. West beat LNCS Knights 2-0 in round four of 2023, advancing their furthest ever. The Lady Falcons were 23-4, after going 20-4-1 and winning three rounds in 2022. In 2024, they were undefeated in Mountain Seven play and reached at least round three of playoffs for the third consecutive season.

“Damn good year!” is West head soccer coach Brian Brewer’s conclusion in the post-game huddle.

The spectacular three-year run was ignited by powerful 5-foot-8 striker Marianne Maxon. The new West graduate finishes her illustrious four-year varsity career with 186 goals. That’s more than any other female public high school soccer player in WNC history. On May 19, UNC-Charlotte-bound Maxon won the WNC Sports Award for best larger-school female athlete in a major sport.

Maxon scored 49 times in ‘24. She had support. Senior Caroline Barton and junior Rhylie Druskis each scored 20 goals. Druskis will help lead West in 2025, along with freshman varsity goalkeeper Ella Collier (O.57 GAA).

West won its first two playoff matches by demolishing North Lincoln 8-0, and edging Central Cabarrus 3-2 as Maxon scored all three Falcon goals.

In the finale, LNSC broke a scoreless tie at 2:41 into the second half. West tied it on Barton’s blast from the left side, at the 19:22 mark. But the Knights retook the lead merely 39 seconds later. Barton nearly retied it, hitting the crossbar with 2:42 remaining. Another Falcon shot hit the football crossbar, above the Knight goal.

‘Foo Fighters’

It is quite fitting that in its playoff-ending 2-1 defeat on May 23, Asheville’s sole goal was scored by senior striker Lily Foo. She zinged the ball over the goalkeeper’s reach two minutes before halftime, tying it at 1-1. Foo nearly scored a go-ahead goal when her penalty kick bounced off the crossbar, with four minutes left in regulation.

Fifth seed Asheville (18-4-2; 11-1 MAC) enjoyed a 1-2 scoring punch of Foo (22 goals) and sophomore Peyton Case (20) in 2024. That was until Case left the round two match with an injury, ending up on crutches. The “Foo Fighters” — nicknamed by the Tribune after the famed rock band—were calm practitioner Foo’s team more than ever.

Eighth-seeded Mooresville Blue Devils (18-3-2) scored in the first two minutes, and got the winner on a free kick with two minutes left in the second OT. The rain-dampened ball slipped through hands of freshman AHS keeper Ellie Wiegand-Reavis (0.90 GAA). MHS upset top seed Watauga 1-0, then AHS.

Asheville blanked Hopewell 9-0, then edged Reagan 1-0 and Charlotte Catholic (CC) 2-1 in earlier rounds. Sadie Hambright and Ashley Armstrong scored Cougar goals versus CC. Hambright (10 goals) scored the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Reagan in round two.

Head soccer coach Mike Flowe honored a pledge that if AHS won three playoff games, he’d dye his hair hot pink. Asheville seniors won or shared Mountain Athletic Conference titles in three of the past four seasons.


The other 2024 MAC regular season co-champion, T.C. Roberson (14-6; 11-1), was seeded 11th in 4A. TCR beat Grimsley 5-1, but lost 2-1 at Marvin Ridge. Lady Ram Kate Pratt had the most (24) goals overall among MAC players. Aria Giles (16), Shayne Pratt (15), and Sarah Freeman (10) also shined for HC Leslie Lamb Sloan.

In 3A play, seventh seed A.C. Reynolds (18-7; 8-4) beat St. Stephens 4-0 and East Lincoln 2-1, and then lost 2-1 at second-seeded North Davidson. Madeline Taylor scored ACR’s goal. Rocket HC Patrick Gladys said, “We were the far better team. We didn’t finish our chances.” Basketball star Peyton Harvey filled in for injured GK Claire Rhoden in playoffs.

Enka and North Buncombe lost in round one.

Lady Cats, Warlassies

HHS lost to visiting sixth-seeded Wheatmore Warriors 4-0 on a rainy May 23, a day before seniors graduated. HHS won 7-0 over Maiden, then 6-3 over the Community School of Davidson for HC Melissa Villars-Nitsche.

In beating Owen 3-0, senior Eden Johnson smacked in a rebound of sophomore Mia Nitsche’s shot. Freshmen Reagan Adams and Addison Reid also scored. They will help carry on the HHS soccer legacy. Maggie Bish led HHS with 19 goals. Second-leading scorer Aubrie Retzbach, like Bish a new graduate, recently tore an ACL.

Owen, coached by Trei Morrison, upset McMichael 6-0 then East Gaston 2-1 in playoffs. The Warlassies clicked behind senior GK Alison Little, and leading scorers Abby Reitzel and freshman Lily Berry.