Late scoring blitz sinks Wayne Country Day
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 27, 2004 1:57 PM
Second-year Wayne Country Day boys soccer coach Michael Taylor viewed Village Christian's come-from-behind, overtime playoff victory against Rocky Mount Academy.
He hoped the trend wouldn't repeat itself Tuesday afternoon.
The teams battled to a scoreless tie for 60 minutes and then combined for three goals in a 10-minute flurry. However, the visiting Knights held the upper hand and jousted the second-seeded Chargers 2-1 from the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Class 1-A tournament.
The seventh-seeded Knights oppose third-seeded Ridgecroft in the semifinals Friday evening at Greenfield School in Wilson. Greenfield, the six-time defending NCISAA champ, faces fourth-seeded Faith Christian of Rocky Mount in the other semifinal.
Wayne Country Day (13-7-1) controlled possession in the opening half, but had nothing to show for its effort at halftime. The Chargers missed all 11 shots on goal and failed to connect on several crosses near the goal mouth.
The Charger defense -- sweeper Travis Davis and the backline of David Wilson, Alex Proimos, Jun Suk Yoon and Hyo Won Ha -- prevented the Knights from collecting a first-half goal. Yoon and Davis played superb defense on striker Graham Vestal. Proimos kept Bernd Saubach from consistently passing the ball to Vestal in the middle.
Village Christian misfired on six shot attempts.
"The first half we dominated, I thought," Taylor said. "The second half, they dominated."
The Knights made some slight adjustments offensively and defensively at halftime and executed well in the second half. The sweeper covered for a teammate who got beat defensively and both defenders hustled after the ball, which left a space for Wayne Country Day to attack. In the second half, one defender dropped back and occupied that space.
The Chargers failed to adjust by simply switching the field and stretching the Knights' defense, which clogged the middle all afternoon.
"As the half went long and we held on, I just kept thinking maybe we'll push one in," Village coach Harold Morrison Jr. said.
Wayne Country Day did.
Kevin Logan worked the ball from the midfield toward the goal in the 60th minute. A shot attempt by Sam Steed deflected off a Knight defender and over the end line. That set up a corner kick by Chris Reed, who lofted a nice pass toward the top of the box.
Logan and Ha jumped at the same time, and Logan headed the ball into the goal for the 1-0 lead. It was Logan's 19th goal of the season and Reed's 10th assist.
"I had a feeling somebody was going to score," Taylor said. "We had chances and they had chances. I just think after we got the first goal, we laid back and made it easy.
"We thought we had it won. I had a feeling they were going to come back and score a goal."
Taylor was right.
Village Christian abandoned the long-ball passing scheme in the opening half and began playing more to feet in the second 40 minutes. Morrison's team caught the Chargers flat-footed on numerous occasions and Vestal, the Knights' leading scorer, became more of an offensive threat.
Vestal knotted the contest at 1-1 with a low strike toward the near post that a stretched-out Ford couldn't save.
The Knights' energy level increased and they ruled the possession game for the next 10 minutes. Ford had two of his four saves during that stretch, but a defensive breakdown inside the 6-yard area proved critical.
The Chargers failed to clear a through ball that rolled to Alan West's feet. He quickly kicked the ball back into the box and midfielder Joshua Morrison connected on the game-winning goal.
"The defense didn't communicate and we just didn't get the ball out of the box," Taylor said.
Village Christian (21-4-1) became the lowest-seeded team to advance to the NCISAA semifinals since fifth-seeded Wayne Country Day played for the 2001 championship. The Chargers lost to third-seeded Greenfield 3-1 in overtime that year.
It is the first time since 2001 that the top two seeds will not play for the state title.
An emotional Taylor choked back tears as he looked toward his players. Logan, his back turned away from the soccer field, wrapped his arms around his knees and stared up into the sky. Ford laid on his back and covered his eyes from the sun. Other players had shocked looks on their faces.
"I don't know what to say to them," he said. "They got lucky and we got unlucky in some situations. That's soccer. We've got to pack up and look forward to next year."
Logan and Proimos, two seniors in the starting lineup, played their final game for the Chargers. Fellow senior John Bridgers, the team's vocal leader, missed the match due to a scheduled family trip.
Taylor expects to return 15 players next season from a roster that included six sophomores and three freshmen this year.
2004 N.C. Independent
Schools Athletic Association
Class 1-A Playoffs
(at Wayne Country Day)
Village Christian 0 2 -- 2
W. Country Day 0 1 -- 1
WCDS -- Kevin Logan (Chris Reed assist), 60:00
VC -- Graham Vestal (unassisted), 62:00
VC -- Joshua Morrison (Alan West assist), 69:00
11 Shots on goal 17
4 Corner kicks 7
0 Offsides 0
9 Fouls 10
Saves -- Village Christian -- Adam Spena 7. WCDS -- Ryan Ford 4.
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