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Chavis, Spartans roll ahead

Central Davidson’s Paige Chavis (right) attacks the net between Lexington’s Angela Priester (left) and Kara Beth Worley during their 2-A state playoff first-round soccer match Wednesday night. (Photo by Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch)

Central Davidson was leading Central Carolina Conference rival Lexington by a goal early in the second half thanks largely to a great save by goalkeeper Chandler Young on a blast from the Yellow Jackets’ Katie DeZego.

It was that close — but not for much longer.

The Spartans erupted for four goals in a five-minute stretch and Paige Chavis finished with a four-goal hat trick as Central ran away with a 7-1 victory in first-round 2-A state playoff action at Spartan Community Stadium.

Alex Myers scored two goals and Anderson Conrad one for the Spartans, who improved to 19-1-1 and advanced to Friday’s second round. Central will host Piedmont.

It just took a little while to get untracked.

“We kept the pressure in the first half,” said Central coach Chad Hench. “We had some chances, had some shots. It got a little frustrating but they did a good job in the back. There were a lot of people to get around.

“When we started the second half, we were talking about getting that third goal.”

Lexington (10-13-1) had other ideas.

The Spartans had taken a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute when Chavis threaded a pass to Carly Spainhour, who fired a shot that bounced off Lexington keeper Libni Iglesias. Chavis then knocked in the rebound. An unmarked Myers scored off a pass from Kayla Semonco to give Central a 2-0 lead in the ninth minute but that was it for the scoring in the first half.

Central dominated possession and had a 9-0 edge in corner kicks for the game but the Jackets got an opportunity on a foul not long after the second half started. Angelica Velasco nailed a direct kick right to DeZego’s right foot and the Catawba-bound senior scored her 34th goal inside the near post to cut Central’s lead to 2-1 in the 42nd minute.

Then in the 47th minute, DeZego pounced when the Spartans failed to clear a ball and drilled a hard shot that Young gathered in as Central kept the lead.

And that got the Jackets excited.

“I think we got maybe a little ahead of ourselves and I think that goal and the possibility of actually tying it up and that got us thinking let’s get forward, let’s get forward,” DeZego said. “I think they got behind us and got two quick goals.”

Lexington held on for a few more minutes before Conrad struck seemingly out of nowhere. When the Jackets couldn’t clear, Conrad blasted a shot with a wicked arc to it that struck the left post and ended up in the back of the net for a 3-1 lead in the 54th minute.

“We knew they were going to try and disrupt our crosses so we needed someone to step up at the top of the 18 and fire something in,” Hench said. “She was a little further out but she’s got the leg to do it. Obviously, that ball curving in gives a big momentum boost.”

DeZego agreed.

“That goal was a backbreaker,”he said. “It was a great shot and you have to give her credit. We defended well in the back but she put a nice touch on it.”

It snowballed from there.

Myers, a freshman who has 27 goals on the season, tallied an unassisted goal less than a minute later to make it 4-1. Then it was Chavis time. The senior striker scored the last three goals of the game. The first one came on a pass from Semonco about a minute after Myers’ goal. Two minutes after that, Chavis scored from point blank range off an assist by Haley Westervelt. The final goal came with four minutes left with Lexi Bodford getting the assist.

Chavis, who now has 21 goals for the season, continued her torrid late-season play after a relatively slow start following basketball season.

“She does this at the end of the year,” Hench said. “It’s a nice problem to have.”

The flurry of goals turned a close game into a runaway.

“Once we got that third goal, I think we relaxed for the first time all night,” Hench said. “It seemed to go on from there.”

Lexington also had issues with Central’s speed all night.

“We ran out of gas more than anything,” DeZego said. “I don’t have a lot of subs and a couple of injuries. The gas tank ran out and they took full advantage of it. It was bang, bang, bang, bang, a lot of goals.”

Mike Duprez can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 218 or