Jaida McGrew, Providence Day girls’ soccer beats Charlotte Latin for NCISAA state title

This was it for Jaida McGrew.

A high school girls’ soccer version of college basketball’s “one-and-done,” McGrew had a single chance to win a state championship in soccer.

She wasn’t going to let it slip away.

“When you go out, you might as well go out big,” McGrew said Saturday after scoring all the Providence Day goals in the Chargers’ 3-1 victory over visiting Charlotte Latin.

This was a special soccer match. Providence Day (24-1-1) began Saturday as the nation’s No. 2-ranked team. Charlotte Latin (20-3), which rallied to beat the Chargers for the 4A championship a year ago and has five state titles in the past decade, was ranked 11th.

Providence Day now has won six N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association state championship in the past 12 years. The Chargers have won four of the past five 4A girls’ soccer championships.

It was McGrew’s first and only.

She was a multi-sport standout in her freshman and sophomore years at Mountain Island Charter, winning some state championships in track but never in soccer. McGrew transferred to Providence Day this year.

“I’d never won that state title in soccer,” she said. “It was something I wanted.”

McGrew is a junior, but she plans to compete this summer and fall with the National Under-17 women’s soccer team. She’ll be home-schooled in the fall and then start next January at Florida State, where she plans to play soccer.

So this was her high school finale.

McGrew sprained an ankle in the Chargers’ semifinal victory Wednesday over Charlotte Country Day and said the injury bothered her when she woke up Saturday.

“It really hurt,” she said. “We got it all taped up, and I never felt a thing during the match. Actually, I’m not even sure how I was able to play today.”

She played very well.

“Jaida used her speed and know-how to create those goals,” said Providence Day coach Dan Dudley, who has coached the Chargers to those half-dozen state titles in the last 12 years. “In her last game here, she was special.”

McGrew scored in the game’s 19th minute when she split two defenders and connected on a 15-yard shot over the right shoulder of Charlotte Latin freshman goalkeeper Ava Nadeau.

That was the score at halftime, and it was eerily similar to last year.

In 2023, Providence Day beat Charlotte Latin in both regular-season matches. But in the state finals, the Chargers built a 1-0 lead, only to see the Hawks rally for a 2-1 victory.

“It was something I mentioned to the team at halftime,” Dudley said.

And sure enough, in the 54th minute of the 80-minute match, the Hawks even the score on an Eleanor Fisher goal.

McGrew, who said she had heard a lot about last year’s title match from teammates, made sure there would be no repeat. About three minutes after Fisher’s goal, she once again split two defenders and scored on an 18-yard shot.

The final goal came with 2:06 remaining. Charlotte Latin sent most of its players into the Providence Day end of the field, trying to tie the score.

“We had to press,” Hawks’ coach Kyle Searles said. “They were able to spring the counter on us.”

The counter play ended with McGrew scoring on a low shot into the left corner of the net.

Both head coaches said the match was played at a high intensity.

“Those were two very, very good teams out there,” Searles said.

“Even though they got that goal on us, I thought our back line played extremely well,” Dudley said. “They (Hawks) put a lot of pressure on us, and we responded.”

In the closing half, defenders Brooklyn Jensen, Kate Cater and Kelsi Hart broke up the Charlotte Latin attack.

“It was a rugged game,” Dudley said. “Actually, it wasn’t an attractive game to watch, but it had its moments. The best way I can find to describe our team is that they were brave.”

And while McGrew will be in Tallahassee next spring, Charlotte Latin and Providence Day stand a good chance of extending their streak of playing each other for the 4A title — a streak now at seven.

“We have some really good incoming freshman, and a great class of sophomores and juniors,” Searles said.

Leading scorer Dempsey McMahon and four of the Hawks’ top five goal-scorers return in 2025.

Providence Day also has most of its top players back, including leading scorer Blane McElroy and her younger sister Devin, the team’s No. 3 scorer.

“We have a lot to be excited about,” Dudley said. “We lose a good group of seniors, but we have a lot of players coming back.”