Orange Women’s Soccer

Orange’s Abby Monteith and Caroline Cathey discuss overtime win over Cedar Ridge

A long battle for the Orange women’s soccer team against crosstown rival Cedar Ridge ended with a goal in the second overtime for the Lady Panthers. Caroline Cathey fired a shot inside the six-yard box that went off a player’s leg and into the net in the 94th minute for the game’s only goal as Orange defeated the Red Wolves 1-0. Cedar Ridge goalkeeper Addie Reid turned back shot after shot against the Lady Panthers and nearly earned the draw for the Red Wolves. At the opposite goal, Orange senior Abby Monteith earned her fourth clean sheets of the season. It’s been a gratifying week for Monteith. On Monday night, Orange returned to the Burlington for the first time since the 2022 3A State Playoffs last May. Orange defeated Williams 3-2. Last May in the state playoffs against Williams, Monteith suffered a torn ACL in the second half. Since then, Monteith went through a grueling period of rehabilitation to get back in game shape for her senior year. Last year, the Orange women’s soccer team became the first team in school history to reach the third round of the 3A State Playoffs. Orange will play at Durham School of the Arts tonight in its final game before spring break.

Orange women’s soccer continue playoff run tonight at Williams

The Orange women’s soccer team is the lowest-remaining seed remaining in the state playoffs.

That’s not just in the 3A State Tournament. That goes for all four classifications sanctioned by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (actually, Orange is a #23 seed. So is Cardinal Gibbons, who will face Middle Creek in the 4A State Tournament tonight in Cary).

Tonight, Orange will attempt to reach the state quarterfinals when they face Walter Williams in Burlington. Kickoff is at 7PM.

The Lady Panthers’ run to the third round of the state playoffs may be a surprise to some outside observers. For many of the players, however, it continues a wave of confidence that started after a double-overtime loss to eventual Central Carolina Conference champion Eastern Alamance on April 12 in Hillsborough. Since then, the Lady Panthers have gone 6-2.

For a select few players, they knew something special could eventually happen for Orange women’s soccer way back in 2018.

Madison Orange, Syndey Rogers, Allison Torkewitz and Lauren Garcia were among the players who were members of Orange Middle School’s (then called Stanford Middle School) 2018 Orange Person Athletic Conference Championship team. It is still the only team in the history of Orange/Stanford Middle School to win an OPAC Championship in women’s soccer.

In 2018, the Chargers defeated longtime power Phillips 2-1 in the championship game, avenging its only loss in the regular season. Orange Middle finished 7-1 that year. It was the only time in school history where the Chargers defeated all four of its OPAC rivals in the Southern Division (Phillips, Culbreth, McDougle and Smith) in a single season.

It was a milestone for Orange Middle School soccer. Now, some of those players have led Orange High to another milestone–the best postseason run in the 34-year history of women’s soccer at Orange.

Preparing how to train some of those players is something Lady Panthers head coach Jacki Mignosa was mulling back when Garcia was still in eighth grade, while Orange, Torkewitz and Rogers were in the seventh.

“When I had this group come up, it was ‘Let’s get them trained,'” Mignosa said. “Let’s get them working together, playing together constantly. Then, by the time they’re juniors and seniors, then this is where we are. And it worked.”

There have been notable additions along the way. Senior Bella Brown arrived in 2020 from Burlington Christian Academy . Brown scored a hat trick in Wednesday’s 5-2 win over Cape Fear in Fayetteville, ending the night with a stunning goal from 20 yards that sailed across the 18-year-box into the left corner of the night. It was her ninth goal of the season.

Freshman Elliana Sullivan Gaddy, who leads the team with 12 goals, went to Central Park Middle School in Durham. She plays with the Mebane Youth Soccer Academy as her travel team.

“This is the best soccer I’ve ever played in my life,” Sullivan Gaddy said the day after she scored two goals in a 5-3 win over Harnett Central. “It’s the most welcoming community that I’ve had. Eastern Alamance was the toughest team we’ve had to play. It has been a pretty tough conference.”

Orange was supposed to face Williams on Monday night, but it was postponed after severe storms tore through the Triad, which is appropriate. The Orange-Williams regular season series was as unpredictable as a North Carolina spring.

On April 14, Williams rolled past Orange 2-0 in Hillsborough. The following week, Orange traveled to Burlington and pounded the Bulldogs 5-0. It was Williams’ most lopsided loss of the season. Lady Panthers goalkeeper Abby Monteith notched the clean sheet.

Whatever happens tonight, this group of Lady Panthers will walk off the pitch knowing they’ve done something that no over Orange team before them ever did. The deepest playoff run in school history.

“I think it’s going to be a tough game,” Mignosa said “I really do. We split with them this season. So it’s going to be another battle. But as I told my team, I believe in them. And they just have to believe that they can do it.”

Orange Panther of the Week: Elliana Sullivan Gaddy

This week’s Orange Panther of the Week is freshman soccer striker Elliana Sullivan Gaddy. Last week, the Orange soccer team won two state playoff games for the first time in the 34-year history of the team. On Monday night, Orange stunned Harnett Central 5-3 in Angier. Sullivan Gaddy scored two goals and assisted on another goal. On Wednesday night, Orange defeated Cape Fear 5-2 in Fayetteville to reach the round of 16 in the state playoffs for the first time ever. Sullivan Gaddy scored the game-winning goal in the second half when she broke up a pass back to Cape Fear’s goalkeeper and tucked the ball away into an empty net. It was Orange’s seventh road win. Sullivan Gaddy is the leading scorer for Orange with 12 goals and 28 points. On April 25, Sullivan Gaddy scored a goal and two assists in Orange’s 5-0 win at Walter Williams in Burlington. She had a four-game goal scoring streak starting against Williams. It continued against Cedar Ridge on April 27. During that span, Orange won four consecutive games. Sullivan Gaddy, Bella Brown and Isabel Jones have added up to a strong forward combination for Orange, which has propelled them to the strongest postseason run in team history. The Lady Panthers will journey to Burlington tonight to face Walter Williams in the 3rd round of the 3A State Playoffs. 

No Fear–Brown’s hat trick leads Orange women’s soccer past Cape Fear 5-2, into 3rd round of state playoffs for 1st time

FAYETTEVILLE–91 degrees at kickoff in 45% humidity playing 102 miles from Hillsborough against a team that finished undefeated in its conference.

None of those obstacles were big enough to stop the Orange women’s soccer team from making history.

Senior Bella Brown notched her fifth career hat trick, her first this season, to propel the Lady Panthers (11-7-1) past Cape Fear 5-2 at Colt Stadium on Thursday night in the 2nd round of the 3A State Playoffs. Freshman Elliana Sullivan Gaddy notched the game-wining goal with 27:29 remaining. Sullivan Gaddy, who scored two goals in Orange’s win at Harnett Central on Tuesday night, now leads the Lady Panthers with 13 goals this season.

Cape Fear (15-4-2), who finished undefeated in winning the United Eight Conference championship, got both goals from sophomore Jayda Angel. She ends the season with 32 goals.

It’s the first time in the 34-year history of the program that Orange reached the 3rd round of the state playoffs. On Tuesday, the Lady Panthers defeated Harnett Central 5-3 for its second postseason victory in team history. The other was in double overtime against Southern Lee in 2016.

“It’s really a tribute to their hard work,” said Orange coach Jacki Mignosa. “I’m just kind of there to guide them, but they put in that time, they put in that effort. I’m glad they’re reaping the benefits.”

While Sullivan Gaddy got the game-winner, Brown injected Orange with a huge boost of adrenaline on a muggy night in the final minute of the first half. Junior midfielder Sydney Rogers sent an entry pass from 35 yards away. Cape Fear goalkeeper Meridith Wenthur struck the ball at the edge of the six-yard box. The ball popped off Wenthur’s hands, then bounced off the leg of Isabel Jones and off the chest of Brown, where it rolled into the right corner of the net with only 13 seconds remaining.

The equalizing goal provided Orange with momentum that they would not lose again.

Cape Fear had the first scoring opportunity in the second half when senior forward Brooke Dawkins dribbled up the right sideline. Dawkins fed a cross to Angel, whose attempt was blocked by Rogers. Throughout the second half, the Colts’ repeatedly tried to attack Orange’s sophomore left back Lily Crayton, who shut down every threat Cape Fear offered as Orange started controlling possession.

“When Lily gets on like that, there’s no stopping her,” Mignosa said. “She’s gets in that mindset and keeps steeping and going. She’s only a sophomore.”

Orange earned three corner kicks in the opening ten minutes of the second half. With 31:10 remaining in the second half, Brown sent a high line drive off the crossbar from 18 yard away. After Orange centerback Channing Mahaney cleared an entry pass, Crayton forced a turnover that led to a shot by Rogers that was saved by Wenthur.

As wingback Christina Paz sent a back pass to Wenthur, Sullivan Gaddy stuck her leg out, which doesn’t work about 95% of the time. This was an exception.

Sullivan Gaddy made just enough contact at the edge of the box to force a turnover. Sullivan Gaddy beat Wenthur to the ball and tucked it into the right corner of an empty net to put Orange ahead 3-2.

Cape Fear nearly earned a penalty kick on the subsequent possession. Angel sprinted towards the middle of the field, where Crayton rubbed her off the ball and fell to the turf. The Cape Fear fans screamed for a handball, but the official shook his head “no” as Crayton successfully cleared it down the field.

With 24:27 remaining, Ella Wimsatt fired a long shot that Wenthur blocked with both hands. The rebounds spilled out to the right flank, where Brown fed Jones on a gorgeous cross. Jones chipped it over the goal line from eight yards away into the right corner of the net for Orange’s first insurance goal.

Brown, who transferred from Burlington Christian Academy in 2020, ended the scoring with possibly the goal of the season for the Lady Panthers. After Crayton picked off a cross, Jones played it to Sullivan Gaddy. Brown got a slither of daylight from 22 yards away and fired a gorgeous ball that sailed into the left corner past a flailing Wenthur to send the Orange bench into hysteria.

“She’s had a lot of really pretty goals,” Mignosa said. “But that was beautiful.”

Brown now has 24 career goals.

As has happened time and time again across women’s sports in the Central Carolina Conference, Orange will face a conference rival in the third round of the state playoffs. On Monday night, the Lady Panthers will travel to Burlington to face Walter Williams. On Thursday night, the Bulldogs upset second-seeded Union Pines 2-1.

Orange and Williams had a bizarre season series where the Bulldogs dominated Orange 2-0 in Hillsborough on April 14. Just eleven days later, Orange traveled to Burlington and handled the Bulldogs 5-0.

That win started a four-game winning streak for Orange that propelled them into the sate playoffs. Now, this Orange team has gone where no other Lady Panther squad before them ever has: the Sweet 16 of the 3A State Playoffs.

“I’m so proud of them,” Mignosa said. “It’s amazing and it’s really just an honor to watch them and to just have time with them and be a part of their lives right now. This team works so hard. I lot of times, I feel like they get overlooked. So I’m so happy that they gets this time in the spotlight. They deserve it.”

Orange’s Crayton, Sullivan Gaddy, Monteith, Brown & Jones talk playoff win at Cape Fear

After 34 years of fielding teams, Orange women’s soccer is in the 3rd round of the state playoffs for the first time. On a hot, humid night in Fayetteville, senior Bella Brown scored a hat trick, while freshman Elliana Sullivan Gaddy notched the game-winning goal with 27:29 remaining as orange defeated Cape Fear 5-2. Isabel Jones added another goal for the Lady Panthers, who claimed its third-ever win in the state playoffs. With the game tied 2-2 at halftime, the Colts had a strong opportunity to score early. But Lily Crayton, playing left back for Orange, stopped a shot by Jada Angel. Midway through the second half, Orange’s Ella Wimsatt set a hard shot from 30 yards, which was thrust away by Colts goalkeeper Meridith Wenthur. Brown gained the rebound and sent a cross to Jones, who knocked it into the left corner of the net to put Orange ahead 4-2 with 24;27 remaining. After two trips to the Sandhills this week, Orange won’t have to travel far for the third round of the State Playoffs. Orange, the #23 seed, will travel to Burlington to face Walter Williams on Monday night. The Bulldogs upset #2 seed Union Pines on Thursday. Orange and Williams split the season series this year. Orange won 5-0 at Williams on April 25. 

Sullivan Gaddy’s two goals leads Orange women’s soccer past Harnett Central 5-3 in state playoffs; face Cape Fear tonight

The Orange women’s soccer team had waited six years since its last win in the state playoffs. What was another 45 minutes?

Despite a severe weather threat forecast on Monday, the Lady Panthers had still driven to Angier to face Harnett Central in the opening round of the 3A State Playoffs. It was the first time Orange had been in the postseason since 2017.

Orange was a hungry, confident team and they played like it. Freshman Elliana Sullivan Gaddy notched two goals in the opening half. Senior Bella Brown, who was the Lady Panthers’ leading scorer in 2021, added another. Sophomore Ella Wimsatt and junior Isabel Jones also tallied goals to put Orange ahead 5-2 when action stopped because of a lighting.

So Orange coach Jake Mignosa, assistant Will Stinnett and the players killed time the best way they knew how. An eclectic playlist full of music to sing and dance to.

There was lots of Taylor Swift, which sophomore Kassi Scarntino labeled “her 2000s songs.” Also Hannah Montana, Willie Nelson, even a Nirvana tune that most of the players liked, though they couldn’t quite remember the title (probably “Smells Like Teen Spirit because, well, that’s what it usually is when its Nirvana). Just enough songs to pass the time until the delay ended, complete the game and head back to Hillsborough to arrive at a decent hour ad get enough rest in time for school the next day.

Except there was another weather delay that followed shortly after play resumed. This second hold-up kept the players on the pitch until the final whistle sounded at 10 PM. Mind you, the day started on Monday morning with a standard day of classes, followed by the team boarding a bus for Angier for a 100-minute road trip. By the time the bus pulled back to the soccer parking lot adjacent to Orange’s tennis courts, a wilted but victorious group of players staggered off the bus at 11:30 PM.

“It was just mentally exhausting waiting through those delays,” Mignosa said after practice on Wednesday. “Keeping their spirits up, keeping their bodies loose, it was hard. There was some music, but I didn’t want them to think we were done playing. Because we weren’t.”

Orange came away with a 5-3 victory over the Trojans, the program’s first win in the 3A State Playoffs since 2016. Though it took a long time, lengthy postseason victories tend to be common in Orange’s soccer heritage. The Lady Panthers’ last state playoff win was a 5-4 double overtime victory over Southern Lee in Sanford.

Orange, the #23 seed in the 3A East Region, travels to Fayetteville tonight to face Cape Fear. The Colts (15-3-2) finished undefeated in the United Eight Conference.

The variance of Orange’s season are emblematic of a young team that has only two seniors (Brown and Laura Garcia). Of its top three scorers, Sullivan Gaddy (eleven goals) and Caroline Cathey (17 points) are freshmen.

All of which has led to some unpredictable results this year. On April 14, Walter Williams shut out the Lady Panthers 2-0 in Hillsborough. Eleven days later, in Orange’s very next game, they traveled to Burlington and beat the same Williams team 5-0 behind goals from Sullivan Gaddy, Brown, Wimsatt, Jones and Cathey. Junior goalkeeper Abby Monteith earned the clean sheet.

Ironically, the game that delivered the biggest confidence boost for Orange was also its most heartbreaking loss. On April 12, Orange was one minute away from beating Eastern Alamance and tying for first place in the Central Carolina Conference. With roughly 45 seconds remaining, the Eagles scored the equalizing goal off a low corner kick to end regulation 2-2. In a wild overtime session, the Eagles scored twice and held off a furious, last-minute Panther charge to win 4-3. Eastern Alamance went on to win the CCC title with an 11-1 record.

It would have been easy for Orange to be demoralized. Instead, their confidence got a boost.

“I think it clicked in our brain that we could compete with anybody,” Mignosa said. “That confidence makes a big difference. I think it really helped them. We played an amazing game that didn’t go in our favor. But Coach Stinnett and I reiterated that we were proud of them and they were completely capable of playing the best of the best.”

After the Williams defeat in Hillsborough, Orange won four straight games to sew up a state playoff spot. That included three straight shutouts over Williams, Cedar Ridge and Person. Monteith, usually the goalkeeper, came away with two goals in the win over the Rockets.

In a 3-0 shutout of Cedar Ridge on April 27 at Orange Soccer Field, Monteith and Kate Barger combined to shut out the Red Wolves. Sullivan Gaddy, Cathey and Destiny Lily Crayton all scored goals, while Brown and Jones had assists.

If Orange has ever advanced to the third round of the state playoffs in women’s soccer, there aren’t any online records that show it. Which means the Lady Panthers will make a road trip to Fayetteville tonight (which severe weather in the forecast, naturally) with potential history on the line.

There are some good omens. Of the three teams from the Central Carolina Conference that reached the state playoffs, all of them won their opening round games in the 3A State Playoffs (Eastern Alamance romped past Fayetteville 71st, Williams defeated Dixon in Holly Ridge).

As the photo that accompanies this article indicates, the players seem to get a kick out of playing along each other. That bodes well for a team that is slated to have nearly everyone back next season, along with new arrivals from Orange Middle School that captured the Orange-Person Athletic Conference Northern Division Championship earlier this month.

“All the girls get along so well,” Mignosa said. “We’ve been blessed with their companionship and their camaraderie. Having Sully (Sullivan Gaddy) and Caroline Cathey come up as freshmen and start varsity games has been amazing. We know it’s going to improve for the future.”

Orange women’s soccer goalkeeper Abby Monteith & midfielder Bella Brown discuss state playoff win

The Orange women’s soccer team knew it wasn’t going to be easy to win in the opening round of the state playoffs when they faced Harnett Central in Angier on Monday night. For starters, they had a 90 minute bus trip. What they didn’t know was that there would not one, but two, weather delays due to lightning. Nonetheless, when the game was stooped the second time, Orange was ahead 5-2 and had plenty of songs by Taylor Swift, Hannah Montana, Nirvana (?!), and Willie Nelson (???!!!) to get them through the delay. The night finally ended with Orange winning 5-3, its first win in the 3A State Playoffs since 2017. Junior goalkeeper Abby Monteith earned the win in net. Senior Bella Brown, who transferred to Orange from Burlington Christian Academy in 2020, scored a goal for the Lady Panthers. In 22 career games for Orange, Brown has scored 20 goals. Freshman Elliana Sullivan Gaddy notched two goals for the Lady Panthers, while Isabel Jones and Ella Wimsatt also scored. Freshman Caroline Cathey and junior Sydney Rogers earned assists. Orange will travel to face Cape Fear in Fayetteville on Thursday night. The Colts are the champions of the United Eight Conference, a 3A/4A league. Cape Fear went undefeated in league play this year. The opening kick will be at 6:30 on Thursday.

Wimsatt’s goal leads Orange women’s soccer past Cedar Ridge 2-1; Reid makes 14 saves for Red Wolves

Shots came from 25 yards away, from out on the flanks and point blank range.

Cedar Ridge goalkeeper Addie Reid had to feel like a baseball catcher with all the balls flying at her from various directions against Orange on Monday night. Officially, she made 14 saves, but the Lady Panthers fired off at least a dozen more than sailed over and wide of Reid’s goal at Red Wolves Stadium.

Regardless, she remained undeterred until Orange finally broke through midway through the second half.

Sophomore Emma Wimsatt scored off a rebound on a corner kick triggered by freshman Elliana Sullivan Gaddy with 20:21 remaining in regulation as Orange defeated Cedar Ridge 2-1 on Monday night. Wimsatt set up the corner when a long pass intended for junior Kitcia Castanada was sent over the end line by Cedar Ridge. The corner by Gaddy was headed by midfielder Sydney Rogers from 15 yards away off the left post. The rebounded bounced to Castanada, who sent a shot off the right foot off the left post again. The ball bounced right to Wimsatt, who chipped it into the corner of the net for the decisive goal.

The Panthers chipped and chipped at the Red Wolves throughout the half, dominating possession and 50-50 balls following numerous goal kicks by Cedar Ridge. Orange outshot Cedar Ridge 16-4.

“We tell them we you have the open shot, take the shot,” said Orange coach Jacki Mignosa. “Because we have a lot of good, talented girls that can put that ball in the net. But we knew pretty quickly that the goalkeeper (Reid) was going to make a lot of saves. So then our strategy at halftime was to get the ball in the box and just cause chaos. That’s how we were going to get the ball in the net.”

Orange’s Bella Brown set up the opening goal in the seventh minute. Brown a senior co-Captain, stripped the ball from a Cedar Ridge defender, dribbled past another and fired from the right edge of the box from 19 yards. Reid blocked the shot, but the rebound went directly to Gaddy, who knocked it into the net with 33:11 remaining in the first half.

Cedar Ridge notched the equalizing goal when Susanna DeMarchi intercepted a pass and fed junior forward Lillian Dyslin, who beat a Panther defender to the ball. Dyslin secured possession at the end of the left box, switched to the right foot to send the Orange defender down to the turn and fired the shot into the middle of the net.

The Red Wolves’ best chance to score in the second half came after Orange was whistled for kicking the ball back to goalkeeper Abby Monteith. The Red Wolves got an indirect free kick from 16 yards inside the box, but the shot by DeMarchi was blocked by Rogers, who triggered a counter that led to a shot by Brown that missed wide.

Orange (4-3-1 overall, 3-1 in the Central Carolina Conference), which is searching for its first trip to the state playoff since 2017, is tied for second place in the CCC. They are scheduled to host Person on Wednesday night in Hillsborough.

“We’ve practiced winning the ball out of the air a lot,” Mignosa said. “We can’t let it bounce and then wait on it. We’ve got the get to the ball. They’ve done a good job at really using what we’ve done at practice and put it into the game.”

Cedar Ridge (3-2, 0-2) travels to Eastern Alamance on Wednesday night, then hosts Person on Thursday. The Red Wolves started the season with victories against South Granville and Clover Garden School. Fleury Nicholson scored two goals for the Red Wolves against the Vikings. Against Clover, Nicholson and junior Ianna Pfeifer each had a hat trick, while DeMarchi scored two goals.

Orange’s Ella Wimsatt and Elliana Sullivan Gaddy

The Orange women’s soccer team had to keep battling against Cedar Ridge at Red Wolves Stadium. With the game tied 1-1, Orange fired shot after shot at Cedar Ridge goalkeeper Addie Reid, who finished with 14 saves. Finally, with 20:21 remaining in the game, Ella Wimsatt took a rebound off a corner kick and tapped it into the net to put the Lady Panthers ahead 2-1. It turned out to be the game-winning goal as Orange improved to 4-3-1 on the season. Cedar Ridge got the equalizing goal from Fleury Nicholson, a freshman striker, on an assist from sophomore Susanna DeMarci. Freshman Elliana Sullivan Gaddy scored the opening goal for the Lady Panthers. It was Sullivan Gaddy’s second goal of the year. Orange is now 3-1 in the Central Carolina Conference, tied with Western Alamance for 1st place. It’s Orange’s third straight win over its crosstown rival. Orange will host Person on Wednesday. The Red Wolves travels to Mebane to face Eastern Alamance on Wednesday night, then return home to take on Person in Red Wolves Stadium on Thursday.

Orange Panther of the Week: Sydney Rogers

This week’s Orange Panther of the Week is junior women’s soccer striker Sydney Rogers. This season, Rogers has scored five goals for Orange as the Lady Panthers started 3-3-1. On March 8, Orange won its Central Carolina Conference opener with a 3-1 victory at Western Alamance in Elon. Rogers scored a goal for Orange, along with Cora Bailey and Elliana Sullivan Gaddy. On March 11, Rogers scored two goals as Orange defeated Northwood 3-2 at Chargers Soccer Park in Pittsboro. Rogers also scored the game-winner as Orange won at Northwood for the first time since 2015. On March 15, Orange defeated Northern Durham 6-1 at Armstrong Stadium in Durham. Rogers added another two goals for Orange. The Lady Panthers are 2-1 in the Central Carolina Conference as they travel to Cedar Ridge tonight to face the Red Wolves. Rogers stays busy with soccer at Orange and is looking to capitalize off its 11-5 season in 2021, when they finished 7-3 in the Big 8 Conference and narrowly missed out on a playoff spot.