10/26/05 — Youth-oriented Cary Christian shocks Chargers

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Youth-oriented Cary Christian shocks Chargers

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on October 26, 2005 2:19 PM

For a team with no seniors and only four juniors, Cary Christian School's soccer team certainly didn't play like an inexperienced team on Tuesday at Wayne Country Day in the second round of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A playoffs.

The No. 6 seed Knights jumped out of the gate with a goal in the first five minutes and proved the more aggressive team through most of the match in a 2-0 win over the Chargers.

Fourth-seeded Wayne Country Day, which received a first-round bye, exited the season at 12-7-1. Cary Christian (20-3-1) will take on Carolina Christian Conference rival Village Christian in the semifinals on Friday at 4 p.m. at the Burt Gillette Soccer Complex in Wilson.

"The guys thought they could come out and have this game won against a six seed," Wayne Country Day coach Michael Taylor said. "They (Cary Christian) came out playing hard, and they took control. We could never take control."

Ryan Bennett, the Knights' leading scorer, didn't post a goal, but he keyed Cary Christian's midfield effort and possession game - specifically in the first half. The Knights consistently won 50-50 balls and moved quickly from the defense and midfield into their offensive attack.

Five minutes into the first half, sophomore Will Morrel knocked a pass behind the Charger defense as teammate and fellow sophomore Morgan Ash ran on to the pass and booted home his team's first goal past WCDS goalie David Wilson.

Wilson was making his first start in goal as regular keeper Ryan Ford, who has an injured hand, played the field. Wilson finished with six saves overall, including several from close range.

"I was proud of David Wilson in the goal. It was his first-ever start," Taylor said. "We had Ryan playing out of position, and I think that had something to do with the outcome as well."

The 1-0 score held until halftime as the Knights finished with a 7-4 edge in shots before intermission. The Chargers best chance to score in the first frame came five minutes before the end of the half when Kevin Franklin tossed a long through into the box. The ball bounced inside the box, before a Cary Christian defender cleared it out of danger.

The Chargers had far more chances to score in the second half, but most of their six opportunities came from well outside the 18-yard box on long attempts by leading scorer Sam Steed. Two minutes into the second half, Steed booted a long free kick that skipped off the top bar and out of bounds.

Six minutes after the close miss by Steed, the Knights notched their final goal when one of their players kicked in a loose ball at the back post after a long cross from the right wing -- making the score 2-0.

Despite having the ball on its end for most of the second half, WCDS never managed to get a shot past Cary Christian goalie Chris Grinnell, who finished with four saves.

"We had the most control in the second half, but we just couldn't get shots inside the 18 and it just wouldn't fall," Taylor said. "We put Sam (Steed) at midfield, and it opened things up for us. We just couldn't get the ball out to our wings."

The Chargers outshot the visitors by a 7-4 margin in the second frame.

Will Futrelle and Hyo Won Ha, who combined for 27 goals and 18 assists, along with Ross Wilson, played in their final games for WCDS.

Steed had 23 goals and 19 assists in his junior campaign and leads a solid group of returning players next season.

Despite the loss, Taylor is pleased with the performance of the team this season.

"From losing four seniors from last year's team and a junior that transferred, a lot of guys had to step and build vital roles. They never gave up and fought hard," Taylor said. "It was a great team to coach. They went far beyond expectations. We're only losing three players and the future's bright."