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Ardrey Kell races to state, ascends to No. 7 in latest soccer rankings

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(Courtesy of Becca Rouse Photography, LLC)

The Ardrey Kell (N.C.) girls’ soccer program had appeared in the state championship game three times prior to Kim Montgomery’s arrival as head coach in 2013, all of which came up short.

And now Montgomery has the program vying for a title once again.

Led by a goal and an assist from sophomore Taylor Suarez, who missed several matches during the regular season while playing with the U.S. women’s national U-17 team, Ardrey Kell won a thrilling 3-2 decision over Page to advance to Saturday’s state championship game, pushing the team to No. 7 in the latest JWS high school soccer rankings.

The Knights will take on East Region champion Cardinal Gibbons for the title.

More than 2,000 fans were on hand to watch Ardrey Kell, according to the Charlotte Observer. In front of the crowd, Suarez dazzled, repeatedly beating her defenders and leading breaks toward the net.

Despite an apparent ankle injury to Suarez with less than 13 minutes to play, the Knights locked down defensively and were able to hang on for the victory. They enter the state championship game on a 13-game winning streak and are 25-1-1 on the year.

Click here to see last week’s rankings.

(Note: These rankings do not include teams from Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma and South Carolina as their seasons have concluded.)

1. South County (Va.), 19-0-1

The top-seeded Stallions, winners of 13 straight, advanced to the Class 6 Region C tournament championship with Wednesday night’s 3-0 win over Lake Braddock. They’ll face Alexandria City in Friday’s region final.

2. Liberty North (Mo.), 21-0

Liberty North continues its undefeated campaign as it heads to the state semifinals to take on St. Dominic on Friday night. The Eagles knocked off St. Teresa’s Academy 2-0 in the quarterfinals to advance.

3. Valley (Iowa), 19-0

After blanking Ames 5-0 to claim the Region 2 title, Valley defeated Muscatine 3-1 on Tuesday to move on to the state semifinals. Anna Van Wyngarden, Allyson Hoffa and Grace Olson each found the back of the net to propel the Tigers to victory. They’ll square off against Ankeny Centennial in Thursday’s semifinal.

4. Saint Thomas Aquinas (Kan.), 16-0-2

Sydney Watts scored twice to lead the Saints to their second straight Class 5A title. After allowing their only goal of the postseason to fall behind 1-0, Watts turned things around for Aquinas to clinch a 2-1 win in the final. The Saints outscored their opponents a combined 32-1 in the postseason.

5. Fort Zumwalt South (Mo.), 24-1

The Bulldogs continue their pursuit of a second consecutive state title after claiming a 4-0 victory over Webster Groves in the Class 3 quarterfinals. In the postseason, they’ve scored 16 times and have yet to allow a goal. They’ll face Smithville to open the state tournament.

6. Lincoln-Way Central (Ill.), 24-1

The Knights are riding a 14-game winning streak into the Class 3A state semifinals, where they’ll square off against Metea Valley on Friday. Emma Vogler and Madi Watt each scored for LWC, which is back in the state tournament for the first time in 15 years.

7. Ardrey Kell (N.C.), 25-1-1

The Knights held on despite allowing Page to pull within a goal two times in the second half of Tuesday’s Class 4A West Regional final.

8. Triad (Ill.), 23-1

The Knights continue to roll through Class 2A with back-to-back wins to open the Super Sixteen. It’s been a little longer than a month since a team has scored on Triad, which will take on Oak Park (Fenwick) on Friday in the state semifinals.

9. Metea Valley (Ill.), 20-2-1

Tyra King and Lucy Burk each had a goal, and Julia Stroub earned a shutout in net to lead the Mustangs to a 2-0 win over Edwardsville. It’s the 12th win in a row for Metea Valley and its first-ever sectional title.

10. Hudsonville (Mich.), 16-0-2

The Eagles scored three goals in the first half to defeat West Ottawa 4-0 in a Division 1 district semifinal Wednesday night. They’ll take on Byron Center in the district final on Friday.

11. Nerinx Hall (Mo.), 20-2-1

The Markers picked up their 15th straight win in resounding fashion, defeating Jackson 5-0 in the state quarterfinals. The win sends them to the final four against Rock Bridge.

12. Evanston (Ill.), 21-2-1

Jocelyn Leigh scored twice in double overtime to lift the Wildkits to a 2-0 win over Libertyville on Tuesday, earning the Class 3A program its second-ever trip to the final four.

13. O’Fallon (Ill.), 20-2

The Panthers’ season is over after they were held scoreless against Edwardsville in a Class 3A sectional semifinal.

14. Oregon (Wis.), 18-0-1

The Panthers continue to dominate after opening sectional play with a 15-0 win. Their quest for an eighth straight appearance in the state tournament resumes Saturday against Burlington.

15. Battlefield (Va.), 15-3

Isabel Kelly’s overtime goal with 12 seconds remaining sent the Bobcats to the Class 6 Region B championship game on Wednesday. Prior to Battlefield’s semifinal matchup against Colonial Forge, Kelly was announced as the Cedar Run District Girls Soccer Player of the Year and followed up her accolade with a pair of goals to deliver a 2-0 win.

16. Colonial Forge (Va.), 15-2-1

A pair of second-half goals ousted the Eagles in the region quarterfinals.

17. Colgan (Va.), 18-2-1

Colgan’s season came to a close with a 1-0 loss to Freedom (South Riding) in the opening round of the Class 6 Region B tournament.

18. Ankeny (Iowa), 18-1

Avery Matthews scored the game’s only goal in the 76th minute Tuesday to send the Hawks past Pleasant Valley and into the state semifinals. They’ve allowed just one goal all season.

19. Marshall (Mich.), 19-0-1

The Redhawks defeated Coldwater on Wednesday to move on to the Division 2 District 19 championship game.

20. Barrington (Ill.), 22-2

The Fillies clinched their 12th trip to the state tournament in program history, defeating St. Charles East 3-0 in Tuesday’s Class 3A supersectional round.

21. Lyons Township (Ill.), 20-2

The Lions’ season concluded in the sectional finals, where they fell to Glenbard West in overtime.

22. Yorktown (Va.), 17-1-1

South Carolina commit Shay Montgomery scored the lone goal to guide the Patriots to a win over Oakton on Wednesday in the Class 6 Region D final.

23. Marian (Mich.), 10-1

The Mustangs defeated Madison Heights Lamphere 8-0 in a Division 2 District 27 semifinal on Tuesday and will take on Cranbrook Kingswood in the district final on Thursday.

24. Naperville North (Ill.), 19-3-3

The Huskies were unable to overcome a second-half goal as their season came to an end.

25. Hough (N.C.), 22-2-1

The Huskies were undone after Ardrey Kell rallied to win last week’s state quarterfinal, 2-1.

Trent Singer is the High School Editor at Just Women’s Sports. Follow him on Twitter @trentsinger.