EAST BEND — The Forbush Lady Falcons’ soccer season came to an end May 30 in the 2A State Championship in Raleigh, but that does not mean the Lady Falcons did not have a phenomenal year; the rewards and experiences prove that.
Making it to the state tournament final in any sport is no easy task. They put up a fight against eventual state champion Carrboro in the championship match, losing 2-1 in overtime. To put it in perspective, had a shot not ricocheted off the post they would have been five minutes away from winning in regulation.
They faced adversity to get to the championship, especially during the late rounds in the playoffs. Close games against Polk County and Franklin came down to the wire, or in the case of Franklin, penalty kicks. That’s when senior Jessica Funk really had to come up big, and she delivered.
Not allowing a goal in the playoffs up until that point, Funk stopped two of the four PKs as Forbush advanced to the championships with a 0-0 (4-2 PK). Funk was stout yet again against Carrboro in the final, and it would take a great corner kick and one of the best goals of the season to get a ball past her in the playoffs. Funk finished her career with 343 saves, breaking the school record, earning All State Honors, the Champions League Top-Goal Keeper Award, and the Female Falcon of the Year Award.
Also earning an All State Honor was junior Madison York. The older of the two York sisters on the team, York fired the ball into the net late against Polk County, putting the game away and helping the team advance to the quarterfinals. In the finals, after Carrboro went up 1-0 in overtime, York and the team battled back to tie it just over a minute later. For York, it was her first state tournament.
Before the championship game started, junior Paige Keaton received the 2A Sportsmanship Award for the tournament. A great leader on the team, Keaton was blatantly pushed down to the ground by an opposing player during a playoff game, but held her composure the entire time. It’s a moment for her that defines her character, and helped earn her the award.
For freshman Anna-Kathryn Kilby, if there was a state tournament this year, there was a good chance she was in it. Kilby participated in four sports this season as a phenomenal student-athlete, and made it to states for each one. Kilby finished 11th out of 125 runners at the state meet for cross country, seventh in the 1600 meter race for indoor track, eighth in the 4×800 relay in outdoor track, and was a pivotal member and starter for the runner-up soccer team. Despite being a busy girl, that didn’t stop her from succeeding in the classroom as well, finishing in the Top 20 of the freshman class.
Lastly, to make it to the state championship took a strong leader, and while all the players pulled together as a team, Head Coach Kenan James never hesitated to say how proud he was of the team. His work helped earn him the 2A Coach of the Year Award.
Yet, with all of accolades the team received this year, they did not get the trophy they all truly wanted — the State Championship. They’ll be gunning for their first one when they hit the turf next spring.
Ryan DeCosta can be reached at 336-258-4052 or via Twitter @rsdecosta.