The Ashley High School girls soccer team held its annual senior night ceremony on Tuesday, which served as a memorable occasion for the Screaming Eagles.
Nina Pinkley, an Ashley High School Specially Designed Academics (SDA) student with autism, played in her first official game. After joining her classmates near midfield for pregame ceremonies, Pinkley played the first five minutes of the match before getting a standing ovation with family, friends and supporters on hand.
Pinkley has been the girls soccer manager at Ashley for the past two years and has developed friendships with team members, earning their acceptance and respect as their dedicated team manager. As a senior, she will be promoted to the TPYA (Transition Program for Young Adults) next year, when she will gain independence and job skills after she graduates from Ashley in June, according to a news release from New Hanover County Schools.
“Nina is such an athlete,” said Ashley Coach Claire Quick. “We will miss having her as our team manager, but we are glad to get to send her off in such an exciting way. Her positive attitude and encouragement will surely be missed.
“She is a wonderful young lady inside and out and has dedicated her time as manager.”
After moving from the state of Washington, Pinkley participated in Special Olympics basketball, soccer and volleyball, which won gold at the North Carolina Special Olympics last year.
The Ashley Exceptional Children’s Buddy Club hosted a pregame party to celebrate Nina and her chance to participate in an official game to close a remarkable moment at Ashley.
As for the rest of the match, Baley Edwards scored the game-winner to help guide Laney in a 2-1 result over the Screaming Eagles.
Lindsey Hyde scored in the 30th minute to put the Bucs in front before Ashley tied the game early in the second period. Sydney Young had seven saves in net for Laney.
The Bucs moved to 10-1-1 in conference and 16-1-1 overall. Ashley dropped to 6-11-1 on the year.
Hoggard 9 West Brunswick 0
New Hanover 7 South Brunswick 0
NHHS: Goals- Colleen Martinez (2); L.B. Shapiro; Sally Sloan; Meredith Criner; Kailan Skiiner; Caitlin Lanzi
Assists: L.B. Shapiro (2); Caroline Herring (2); Sally Sloan; Mary Grace Kiernan.