Manteo High School women’s soccer team prepares to defend its state title

By on March 5, 2024

Can Manteo successfully defend this 2023 women’s soccer title? (File Photo credit: Left Field Photography)

By Joel Diaz | Outer Banks Voice

When the Manteo High School women’s soccer team defeated defending state champion Wheatmore by a 5-3 score to win the State 2A title last July, it triggered an outpouring of pride and celebration in the town. The win punctuated a storybook season in which the team compiled an unbeaten 25-0-2 overall record and a 13-0-1 mark in conference play.

Now, as the squad prepares to defend its title beginning with the March 8 season opener at home against West Johnston, the Voice asked head coach Ralph Cleaver for his assessment of the season and the task ahead.

The team is “reloaded and reinforced” for the season after losing two seniors to graduation and one other key player to a transfer, he wrote in an email to the Voice. “Everyone else is back and we have added a JV team this season our younger girls more opportunities to hone their skills in games.”

Asserting that the goal in 2024 is to repeat as state champions, he added that “it will be much harder this season with the large target on our backs and everyone wanting to knock off the champs. We will get everyone’s best effort and we have a much harder non-conference schedule this season…”

Finally, the coach made clear the expectations for his team. “We want to continue to put a beautiful product on the pitch that fans can be excited about. We want to give our community something to be proud of, in the way we play and the way we fight…We have an amazing full coaching staff that is ready to push these girls to their next level. We know it will be a long, grueling season with ups and downs, but we are excited for the journey ahead.”

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