HOLLY SPRINGS — Her surname is Bootes, but she does anything but clop around a soccer field.
Holly Springs junior Kirsten Bootes dribbled the ball up the Hawks’ field with fancy footwork to lead her side to a 6-3 win over Wakefield on Wednesday in the first round of the NCHSAA 4A playoffs.
“She has skills with the ball on her feet and then she has the size, the speed and the physicality to beat anyone else to the ball,” Holly Springs coach Brian Miller said. “She is impossible to defend.”
Holly Springs (14-4-2 overall) was the third-place team in the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference, and Wakefield (12-5-1) finished third in the Cap 8 4A.
Bootes, who led the SWAC in scoring, has 23 goals for the season. Her first goal provided a 2-0 edge just before halftime and her second goal a 3-0 advantage to open the second half.
“The team plays nice balls to me,” said Bootes. “They know the way I play and the way I get it on my foot. They always play to my advantage.”
On Bootes’ first goal she gained possession from a Wakefield defender on a loose ball 20 yards from the goal. Bootes smoothly turned the ball her way, dribbled up field and beat the goalie one-on-one.
On her second twinkle-toes goal, a Wakefield defender stood between her and the net from 15 yards out. Bootes directed the ball to her right, crossed it over and recovered it on the defender’s left for another one-on-one goal.
At that point, a 3-0 lead seemed insurmountable, but the Wolverines trimmed the deficit to 3-2 with 17 minutes, 30 seconds to play on goals by Morgan Nanni and Halee Enderlee.
“We started out slow and we didn’t play well defensively, but we were lucky they didn’t score more when they hit the post and the crossbar,” Wakefield coach C.J. Komens said.
Holly Springs went up 4-2 on a goal by Sierra Raynor and then Dominique Babbitt made it 5-2 on a penalty kick after Bootes was tripped as she charged the goal with the ball.
Wakefield responded again to make it 5-3 when Sydney Marshburn scored, but Babbitt bumped the lead back to 6-3 with goal on a free kick from 20 yards.
Holly Springs’ first goal came from Rebekah Favero. She redirected a rebound with a shot past the goalie out of position from a making a save.