10/27/05 — CBA wins ECC soccer tourney

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CBA wins ECC soccer tourney

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on October 27, 2005 2:03 PM

Charles B. Aycock coach Byron Adkins had a simple instruction for Alex Rodriguez as the freshman prepared to take a corner kick with five minutes left in the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference championship at Eastern Wayne.

"We need a good one Alex!" Adkins shouted from the sideline as his top-seeded team was in a scoreless tie with No. 2 Wilson Hunt.

Rodriguez responded.

Kicking from the right side, Rodriguez booted a perfect cross into the middle of the box as junior forward Garrett Davis got in position, then headed the pass into the right corner for the game's only goal.

"Right when we got the corner kick, I knew we were going to score," Davis said. "That's how we've scored three-fourths of our goals this year ... on corner kicks and throw-ins."

Goalie Jake Bunn and the Golden Falcon defense held off Hunt for the final five minutes following the goal as Aycock emerged with a 1-0 win to claim the inaugural ECC tourney on a chilly night in New Hope.

The Falcons (13-6), also the regular-season champs, will have a first-round bye for the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs and will return to action on Saturday, Nov. 4 at home against either the Coastal Conference's No. 3 seed or a Wild Card team.

"We have a 10-day layoff, and I'm not too happy with that, because I wish we played a little sooner," Adkins said. "We'll give the boys a couple of days off to reflect on what's going on, then come back on Monday and work on some things."

Hunt (16-6-2) hosts the New Six Conference's No. 2 seed next Wednesday.

Davis' game-winning header was only the third shot by Aycock in the second half. Hunt owned a 7-3 edge in shots after intermission and outshot the Falcons 13-8 overall. But, most of the Warriors' attempts were from outside the 18-yard box as sweeper Bennett Jeffreys and the Aycock defense did a consistent job of marking against Hunt's forwards -- especially during the middle and late stages.

"They had some chances, but we held tough," Jeffreys said. "It's only our third shutout all year, but it feels good for us to hold, then get the goal at the last minute. That's how we've been winning all year."

Bunn was tested early in the second half when the Warriors had three shots in the first eight minutes of the frame. Bunn proved up to the challenge with three of his seven saves during that stretch.

Hunt's final attempt of the game came in the waning minutes as Jerimy Lucas' direct kick attempt from 20-yards out hit off the Aycock wall and bounced back to Bunn, who scooped up the ball and punted it away.

"Jake's done really well. He had a down period for a couple of games, then the Eastern Wayne game here he asserted himself again," Adkins said. "He had some great saves tonight and you can't ask much more of him."

Hunt held a slim 6-5 edge in shot attempts in the first half, but the Warriors proved to be the aggressor in the midfield -- winning most of the 50-50 balls. Still, Hunt had very few attacks inside the 18.

Meanwhile, Aycock's attacks proved more dangerous with Rodriguez and Davis both having several close chances before intermission. Davis nearly capitalized on a header attempt late in the first half on a pass from the right by Rodriguez, but the attempt went directly to the Warrior goalie.

Notes: Davis will enter the playoffs with 25 goals and 16 assists, while Rodriguez has 22 goals and 17 assists ... The game proved to be a physically played contest with the two teams combining for 36 fouls, but no cards were issued. Aycock was whistled for 20 fouls, while Hunt was whistled for 16 ... The Golden Falcons finished the season 2-1 against Wilson Hunt, the only team to hand Aycock a loss during ECC play.