Polk County’s Caelan Gaul had four goals in Monday’s win

Wolverines stifle Rebel Bulls in 1A playoff opener

Polk County took a no-Bulls approach to its playoff opener.

The Wolverines dominated South Stanly from the outset Monday, taking a quick three-goal lead en route to a 5-0 victory in a 1A first-round girls soccer playoff match at G.M. Tennant Stadium.

Caelan Gaul scored four goals as the Wolverines (11-2-1) advanced to Wednesday’s second round to face Woods Charter. The Wolves handed Elkin a 4-1 loss on Monday.

Woods Charter (8-4) finished second behind Raleigh Charter in the Central Tar Heel 1A Conference. The Wolves are led offensively by freshman Leyla Noronha and senior Eloise Maclean.

South Stanly (6-4) had little answer early for Polk County as the Wolverines led 3-0 before the halfway point of the first 40 minutes.

Gaul’s first goal came in the ninth minute as she poked the ball free from a Rebel Bulls defender and hit a left-footed shot that just slipped inside the far post. She scored again just over a minute later when a South Stanly defender knocked down a Susanna Ashowrth corner kick in the box, allowing Gaul to quickly kick it through a maze of defenders into the goal.

The scoring continued in the 17th minute as Madison Geddings took a pass from Rollins Carter, drove into the right corner and hit a perfect cross to Gaul, who hit a hard drive into the far corner of the net for a 3-0 Polk County lead.

Gaul added her final goal six minutes into the second half with a bit of fancy footwork. A South Stanly defender headed a Marilyn Castillo throw-in directly to Gaul, who was standing alone some 10 yards out from the far post. Gaul tapped the ball up in the air with her left foot, then struck it as it came down, easily finding the far corner of the net.

The Wolverines added their final goal on a Julia Griffin penalty kick, earned on a South Stanly hand ball in the penalty area.