The Tarboro Lady Vikings had to wait 30 minutes after the match was scheduled to begin Wednesday due to a scheduling conflict. The Kinston Vikings coach thought the match was to begin at 7 p.m. So the officials let Kinston have time to warm-up once they arrived. It didn't matter to Tarboro head coach Leshaun Jenkins and his team, because they had one thing in mind and that was to come out with a victory so they could lock up second place in the Eastern Plains Conference.
Jenkins had his troops fired up and ready to play once the match began. Tarboro came out with a 1-0 win. With the win Tarboro clinches a home playoff game in the NCHSAA 2-A state playoffs that start Wednesday.
They finish the season with a 7-4-4 record overall and a 3-2-1 record in conference play.
Tarboro played better the second time around against Kinston, because the first time Tarboro and Kinston met they ended in a 1-1 tie after Tarboro missed a penalty kick late in the match.
Tarboro controlled the tempo the majority of the match. They out shot Kinston 29-10 in the match.
"I told the girls before the game that their challenge from me was to take a lot of shots in the match," Jenkins said. "I'm impressed with the amount of shots we did take on goal, because that is our season best in one match. Going into the playoffs we have to know how to take the shots when we have the chance."
In the first eight minutes of the match Tarboro took five shots on goal from inside 20 feet, but the Kinston goalie made several tough saves and kept Tarboro scoreless.
Half way through the first half Tarboro found a way to get on the scoreboard though. Julie Hayes got a pass from Shayla Thorne in the middle of the field and Hayes found Carmen Guilford on the left side of the field and made an outstanding pass through two Kinston defenders and Guilford punched it in to put Tarboro up 1-0.
Tarboro took 14 shots on goal in the first half and held Kinston to seven.
"Kinston is a good team and a one goal lead didn't mean that much to me, because anything can happen," Jenkins said. "I told my girls at halftime that one goal probably wouldn't win this match, so I thold them we needed another goal to put them away. I told them if they day light between them and the goalie to take the shots."
Tarboro had several opportunities in the second half to score, but couldn't find the back of the net. With 21 minutes left in the match, Thorne broke away with just her and the Kinston goalie in between her and the goal and Thorne drilled the ball with her right foot and it bounced off of the cross bar on top of the goal. Thorne had three more one on one break away chances, but couldn't get the ball past the Kinston goalie.
With eight minutes left in the match Kinston was called for pushing about 35 feet out in front of their goal. Katie King took the direct kick, but kicked the ball over top of the goal.
Tarboro controlled the ball the entire second half, except for three Kinston possessions when they got a couple of looks to score, but Tarboro goalie Courtney Perkins made the saves. She finished with seven saves in the match.
Tarboro took 15 shots on goal in the second half and Kinston only took three.
"I believe we are a better second half team then a first half team," Jenkins said. "We have scored a lot of our goals the season in the second half and have put teams away early in the second half. Being as young as we are that is impressive, because it goes to show that we play the entire match and not just one half."
Jenkins has been successful coaching the game of soccer at Tarboro. He has carried his boys team to nine conference titles and has reached the Elite 8 in the playoffs. He is trying to build the girls program into a power house like he has done on the boys side. He doesn't like to take a lot of credit for his success or accept accolades when it comes to winning, because he said it is just in his nature of being a coach.
"I have had my glory moments and I never have needed to be given credit for what I have done as a coach in soccer – not even a record," Jenkins said. "I believe in my system and I told the girls when I took over the program that they didn't have to live in the shadows of the boys team. I told them I didn't want to wait two or three years for it to show – I wanted it to be this year and they have done that. These girls have worked their back sides off for me and it has been rewarding and has paid off in one year."
Jenkins said he hard on student-athletes, because he believes that kids in this generation don't work as hard as they should.
"When you show me the kids who go out and do the old fashion way of hard work then that means more to me then anything," Jenkins said. "When you plant the right seeds things will happen and the kids will work hard for a coach."