09/27/05 — Flacons upset Hunt

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Flacons upset Hunt

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 27, 2005 2:08 PM

WILSON -- Undaunted from squandering a two-goal lead and on the verge of extending its winless streak against Wilson Hunt, the Charles B. Aycock boys' soccer team found its heart -- through dedication -- Monday evening.

Junior Garrett Davis notched the game-winning goal with less than 13 minutes remaining and sparked the Golden Falcons to a 4-3 victory in a steady downpour of rain. Aycock (5-4) remained unbeaten in three Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference outings and beat the Warriors for the first time in school history.

"Fantastic for us," said Aycock assistant coach Byron Adkins, whose team seized sole possession in the ECC. "To go a goal down and come back ... do what we did tonight was absolutely great for us."

Golden Falcon freshman Alex Rodriguez zipped behind a Hunt defender and forced keeper Zach Thomas to come off his line less than three minutes into the match. Thomas appeared to slip on the wet turf as Rodriguez fired a low strike toward the far post.

About nine minutes later, Davis rifled a shot off Thomas and senior Danny Derwitz covered the deflection. A split second later, Derwitz connected on the first of two goals to give Aycock a surprising 2-0 lead.

But Hunt didn't stop attacking.

Shut out on their first three attempts, the Warriors (9-4, 2-1 ECC) finally broke through in the 25th minute. Senior Jerimy Lucas collected a rebound shot off Golden Falcon keeper Jake Bunn and followed it into goal for a score.

Adkins pulled Bunn and called junior keeper Jared Kennedy into duty. Less than a minute later, Lucas tallied the equalizer on a shot from the right side to the far post.

Each team, from that point, struggled to finish goals off corner kicks. Hunt failed to consistently cross the ball into the box, while Aycock misplayed a couple balls inside the 18-yard box.

Filled with mixed emotions about losing the two-goal advantage, Adkins encouraged Aycock to stoke the fire in its belly again at halftime.

"We talked about dedication and heart," said Adkins. "If we go a goal down, I told the guys 'please don't give up on me tonight. Fight to the end and good things will happen'.

"They did go a goal down, but they didn't quit on me. In years past, if that would have happened, we probably would have lost (big)."

Senior Brian Hooper notched Hunt's third goal less than 10 minutes into the second half. Hooper bounced a shot off Kennedy, who dove left to keep the ball from skipping inside the near post. The ball deflected off Kennedy's gloves and skittered toward the lower left corner.

Still missing a midfield, Aycock pressured Hunt's defense and managed to build several attacks on goal. Although the Golden Falcons came up empty for almost 20 minutes, the Warriors experienced difficulty marking the speedy Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, who just missed an indirect kick early in the second half, helped set up Aycock's game-tying goal. A Hunt defender knocked the ball out of bounds away from Rodriguez and that gave Davis a throw-in near the Golden Falcon bench.

Davis' throw sailed into the box and the ball appeared to brush off a Hunt defender. Derwitz stayed behind the play on the near post and saw the ball bounce off Thomas. No one marked Derwitz, who knocked it home for the 3-3 tie.

"There was a little confusion because there were so many people in the box at that time," said Derwitz. "We held our ground and stayed in our positions just like we practiced, and finished up the goal.

"It was crazy. I kicked it with my left foot and watched the ball (go in)."

Ball possession became more critical as the downpour continued. Players slipped on the slick turf during one-on-one confrontations and couldn't get solid footing when they kicked the ball forward.

The conditions didn't bother Rodriguez. Still running at full speed, Rodriguez drew a pair of defenders down into the corner and played a great ball toward a wide-open Davis.

Thomas came off his line to challenge Davis one-on-one and lost the battle. Davis played the ball toward the near post to prevent the Warriors' sweeper from charging and knocking it over the end for a corner kick.

"They had a lapse on defense ... nobody was on me," said Davis. "I was kind of surprised I was wide open because usually I have a couple of guys on me."

Hunt stayed on the offensive for 10 of the final 15 minutes. Kennedy recorded three saves, while three other Warrior shots sailed just right of the near post. Davis played solid defense along with sophomore Alex Toler and senior sweeper Bennett Jeffreys.

Kennedy concluded the night with five saves.

"We just stepped it up and showed a lot of heart," said Davis.