Woods Charter shakes off 1st loss; Seaforth, J-M pick up wins


The Woods Charter girls soccer team suffered its first loss of the 2023 season last Tuesday to Franklin Academy, 1-0.

Losing for the first time in the regular season since a 2-1 loss to Jordan-Matthews on April 29, 2021, the Wolves could have let the defeat stick with them the rest of this spring. Instead, head coach Graeme Stewart’s team has put the result fully behind them and is focused on what else the year will bring.

That was evident Monday night, as the Wolves dismantled Clover Garden School, 10-1. Two players — juniors Leyla Noronha and Sienna Gray — both tallied hat-tricks, while junior Carolina Mitchell had a brace and freshman Amelia Cherry and senior Lucy Miller had one goal each.

For the season, Woods Charter (11-1-1 overall entering Wednesday’s game at Chatham Charter) has outscored its 13 opponent by an average of 4.1 goals per game. Offensively, Gray (20), Cherry (18) and Noronha (13) all have at least 10 goals.

The Wolves have eight games remaining in the regular season, but their sights are set on making another deep run in the state playoffs. Last spring, Woods Charter made it to the 1A state final before falling to Christ the King, 3-0.

Another Chatham County team that looks ready to make noise in the postseason is Seaforth, which came into Tuesday’s game against Graham with a 7-5 overall record and a perfect 5-0 mark in Mid-Carolina Conference play.

The Hawks defeated Bartlett Yancey by mercy rule, 9-0, on Monday thanks to four goals from freshman Sofia Viana. Playing varsity soccer for the first time this spring, Viana leads the Hawks in both goals (17) and assists (15) this spring.

Seaforth has four conference games remaining on its schedule before the end of the regular season. If the Hawks win at least three of those games, they’ll earn at least a share of the conference title for the first time in program history.

Trying to play spoiler to the Hawks will be Jordan-Matthews, which was 6-3-3 overall and 4-1 in conference play entering its Wednesday game vs. Bartlett Yancey. The Jets were victorious over North Moore on Monday, 7-0, behind a hat trick from sophomore Jessica Parroquin.

Parroquin is J-M’s leading scorer by a wide margin with 23 goals. She has scored at least three goals in five games this spring, including a five-goal performance against Southern Lee on March 6.

The Jets lost their first meeting with Seaforth this season, 4-0, back on March 16. The two teams will meet again in Pittsboro on May 8 in a matchup that could decide who wins the conference’s regular season title.

Elsewhere in Chatham County, the Northwood girls soccer team failed to carry over any momentum from its 2-2 tie against Woods Charter last Thursday. The Chargers played Williams on Monday and lost, 4-2, to drop them to 5-6-2 overall and 3-4 in league play.

Northwood has struggled defensively this spring, allowing 3.3 goals per game to their opponents so far this season. The Chargers’ leading scorer is sophomore Sarah Anne Murrell, who has nine goals and seven assists so far this year.

Playing with Woods Charter in the Central 1A Tar Heel Conference, the Chatham Charter girls soccer team was 1-6 heading into Wednesday’s game against the Wolves. The Knights have not had a winning season in program history. The closest they came was going 5-7-2 overall last spring.

Sports Editor Jeremy Vernon can be reached at or on Twitter at @jbo_vernon.