10/18/05 — Falcons win it in OT

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Falcons win it in OT

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on October 18, 2005 2:08 PM

For most soccer teams, the throw-in is a simple, often overlooked part of the game.

It's an offensive weapon for Charles B. Aycock.

Trailing 2-1 with the clock ticking toward the final horn of regulation at archrival Eastern Wayne, strong-armed, Golden Falcon junior Garrett Davis tossed a long throw into the Warrior box. The ball was headed toward the goal, then intentionally punched out by an Eastern Wayne player -- awarding Aycock a penalty kick.

With no time on the clock, freshman Alex Rodriguez stepped up and booted in the equalizing goal, sending the hard-fought contest into overtime.

The intentional handball not only awarded the Falcons the penalty kick, but it forced the Warriors to play a man down in overtime due to the player ejection for the penalty.

With less than three minutes left in the second 10-minute period of overtime, Rodriguez posted the game-winner -- booting in a low shot from nearly 30 yards out into an empty net after Eastern Wayne goalie Vincent Hagedorn came out to clear a loose ball.

The shot propelled the Falcons to a 3-2 victory at Little Big Horn as the archrivals played their second overtime thriller this season. The win marked the first time Aycock has ever taken both regular-season meetings from Eastern Wayne.

"I can't really put into words. It was a great game tonight. The penalty kick in the 80th minute to tie it, then we pressed in the overtime," Aycock coach Byron Adkins said. "Not to take anything away from them, because they had two great goals, but I thought we thoroughly deserved to win tonight.

"We're not content with this. We're trying to push as far in the conference tournament and playoffs as we can."

With the win, the Falcons captured at least a share of their first Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference championship and first conference title overall since the boys soccer program began in 1992. The Falcons (10-6, 8-1), gunning for the ECC's top seed in the league tournament and N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs, can seal the conference championship outright with a win on Wednesday at Southern Wayne.

With two conference losses, Wilson Hunt also remains in contention for the title heading into Wednesday's game against Wilson Beddingfield. But the Falcons remain in control of their own destiny.

"The feeling is electric. We missed our chance last week against Hunt to seal it up, but it doesn't get any better than this ... coming to Eastern Wayne and beating them on their Senior Night," Aycock senior sweeper Bennett Jeffreys said.

The Warriors (8-5-2, 6-3) fell to third place in the ECC going into their final regular season game at Kinston on Wednesday. Eastern Wayne, which will host the conference tourney beginning on Saturday, will likely take the ECC's third and final NCHSAA playoff spot.

"Now we're going to regroup and go into the conference tournament, and hopefully we can do some damage there. I'd like to get a little redemption," Eastern Wayne coach Jörg Wagner said. "Being the inaugural tournament here at our home field ... it should be nice."

The Falcons held a slim edge in shots in the first half, but the Warriors capitalized twice on four opportunities to take a 2-1 lead into halftime.

Shortly after Eastern Wayne's Dustin Smith was tripped on the right wing, teammate Sean Worrell -- one of nine Warrior seniors -- stepped up and quick-kicked a hard, low shot to the back post from 20 yards out. The shot sailed passed the diving Aycock goalie Jake Bunn to make it 1-0 just 10 minutes into the game.

Less than 15 minutes later, Worrell, who had only one goal coming into the game, struck again.

From nearly the same spot on the field, Worrell settled, then fired another low shot -- this time to the near post -- again past Bunn to push his team up by two goals at the 23-minute mark.

"We always practice taking kicks quickly, and the other shot was a great strike," Wagner said. "After that, we had several other chances to score, but didn't put them away."

After missing out on several close chances, Aycock got on the board with 12 minutes left in the first half with the first of two goals on long throws by Davis. This time, Davis tossed a long throw from the right wing to the middle of the box as fellow junior Carson Sasser got position among the defenders and headed it in.

"It's something we've worked on all year long. The throw-in adds great pressure to the back four," Adkins said. "He can throw it to the back post, near post and the middle. They don't know where he's going to throw it."

Eastern Wayne outshot the visitors 3-0 in the first six minutes of the second half as Matt Wolf, Chris Brown and the Warrior defense kept Aycock at bay through the early and middle stages of the second frame.

Minutes away from seeing a shot at an outright conference title turn into a three-way tie at the top, the Falcons seemed to start playing with an increased sense of urgency.

At the 65th minute, Davis just missed wide of the goal on a sliding attempt near the left post on a cross from the right wing by Sasser. Five minutes later, a header by Davis on a corner kick by Rodriguez hit the left post and was cleared out by Eastern Wayne.

With three minutes left, the Warriors cleared out the first of two long throws late in the game, before Davis and Aycock got one more chance in the waning seconds -- sending it into overtime on the Rodriguez penalty kick.

Playing one man down, the Warriors managed just two shots in the overtime period to seven for Aycock. Overall, the Falcons owned a 19-12 shot advantage.

Bunn finished with eight saves for Aycock, while Hagedorn notched seven saves.

Joey Bero, Vincent Gambella, Worrell, Brown, Eric Bourgeois, Jin Lee, Andrew Corley, Justin Smith and Adam Corley participated in their final regular-season home games for the Warriors.