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High school soccer: Henry breaks county record in victory

By Mike London
mike.london@salisburypost.com

LANDIS — In dramatic fashion, South Rowan’s Madison Henry fought off a bad ankle, a determined opponent and ugly weather to break the record for career goals scored by a Rowan County girl.

“Wet, muddy and rough,” Henry said. “But it was an exciting night. Not just for me, but for my team and my school. This was a big deal for our school.”

Henry, quick, focused and accurate, hurt an ankle on Saturday competing with her club team, but she still scored all seven South goals in Monday’s 7-5 comeback victory against Central Carolina Conference opponent Lexington.

With the miserable weather, the taped ankle, and the see-saw struggle, it was a script that Hollywood producers would have rejected as too far-fetched. Henry’s career high before Monday’s effort was five goals.

South coach Chrissy McLamb wasn’t shocked.

“When Madison puts her mind to something, she goes for it,” McLamb said. “She kept shooting. She kept scoring.”

South was preceding with the idea that the previous county record of 101 career goals was set by Salisbury’s Emma Miller in 2007, but West Rowan’s Toni Lucente actually topped that figure with 103 goals in a career that ended in 2013.

Henry, a junior committed to UNC Wilmington, entered Monday’s game with 99 goals, including the 61 she scored as a sophomore to shatter the county’s single-season mark.

When she scored No. 100, her teammates on the sideline had a poster ready to let everyone know. There were more colorful posters prepared for her 101st goal and the 102nd. Then they ran out of posters, but Henry kept going. South needed all of them, so she punched in goals No. 103, 104, 105, 106. Henry needed two more goals than was believed to be the case, but she managed to pass both Miller and Lucente.

“I wanted to break the record tonight because I really wanted to do it at home,” Henry said. “The ankle wasn’t great, but it was OK. We iced it and taped it. I wasn’t going to miss this game, and with my teammates’ help, I was able to score some of those goals pretty fast.”

Henry tweaked the ankle twice and had to sit out stretches in both halves. South (3-5, 3-4) was behind in the second half when she came back in. Her teammates found her. She came through.

“She has great footwork and she made some amazing shots,” McLamb said. “All night long, she found the back post.”

McLamb had hoped to have the game halted briefly to recognize Henry’s achievement if she scored her 102nd goal, but weather conditions were poor and overtime loomed as a possibility, so officials preferred to keep things moving. She received a commemorative ball after South’s win was in the books.

“That was fine,” Henry said. “I wouldn’t have been comfortable celebrating during such a back-and-forth game, and I had to respect how hard Lexington played. I was happy celebrating with my teammates and coaches when the game was over. We were able to win, and, of course, that made it a lot more fun.”

Henry shared co-player of the year honors in Rowan County last season with Salisbury’s senior standout Julia Honeycutt, who now plays for the Charlotte 49ers.

Henry scored 30 goals as a freshman. Then she had that monstrous All-State sophomore season for a 17-win team when South had a strong senior class supporting her. Henry, who also stars in cross country for the Raiders, is leading a much younger team this year, but there will be some magical nights like Monday when she can elevate everyone in the stadium.

“I have to thank my parents, Coach McLamb and Kyle Neal (South’s head coach Henry’s first two seasons) and my club coach John Pardini,” Henry said. “I also want to thank my teammates, past and present. They made all of it possible.”

It’s going to take a while to get there, but now Henry can work on becoming the county’s all-time leader for goals, regardless of gender. Sappia Venn scored 151 for the Salisbury boys in the early 1990s.

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