MOC men's soccer
Published in Sports on November 3, 2005 2:03 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive's men's soccer team's performance Wednesday in the first round of the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference tournament at home against Pfeiffer proved to be a microcosm of the final 10 games of the season.
The No. 4 seed Trojans had more shots, more corner kicks and more overall possession than the fifth-seeded Falcons, but had difficulty finishing and stringing together passes in the attacking third of the field as Pfeiffer advanced to the CVAC semifinals with a 1-0 win at Trojan Field.
The Falcons (10-6-1) will face top-seeded Queens on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. with a berth in the conference championship at stake. Pfeiffer, winners of five straight, avenged an 8-0 loss on Sept. 21 at Mount Olive.
Mount Olive, the 2004 tournament champion, finished the season at 11-6-2 overall with a 6-3-1 CVAC mark. The Trojans started the 2005 season out of the gate hot at 8-0-1, before finishing the season at 3-6-2 in their final 11 games.
"It's tough to witness what we were to what we are today. We still had a good year, but we had a disappointing end," Mount Olive coach Jerry Riggs said. "This game is a lot like the last month of our season ... outplay an opponent and come up short."
Two minutes into the game, Mount Olive's Woody Stilley had a sliding shot attempt go wide of the goal off of a cross from the right wing from Ryan Adamski. Also inside the first 15 minutes, the Trojans had two corner kicks from the right wing by Chris Jasso. Jasso knocked two good kicks into the box, but Mount Olive failed to capitalize on either chance.
From there, both Stilley and senior forward Reid Clewis, the Trojans' two leading goal scorers, would be forced to sit out for most of the rest of the contest. Both suffered apparent leg injuries during the first half as Riggs searched for the right combinations up top through the match.
"It hurt with Woody and Reid getting hurt. It took the wind out of our sail," Riggs said. "Also, we had another forward, Brian (Fitzmaurice), out with a back problem. I had to try to throw different faces up there to make it happen."
Pfeiffer, which was outshot 9-6 on the match, capitalized on its best chance of the game. The Falcons' Michael Sobolewski broke free in the middle of the field and dribbled near the top of the 18-yard box, then passed to his left to an open Mark Nerkowski. Nerkowski settled the ball to his right foot and fired back post past Trojan goalie Chris Roush to make it 1-0, 28 minutes into the second half.
Besides the counter-attack goal, Mount Olive's defense was solid through the game and consistently cleared the ball up to the defense and midfield. Roush and the Trojan defenders gave up two goals or less in their final 13 games.
"Our defense played well all day. The goal they scored they had the numbers and their guy tucked it away for a nice goal," Riggs said.
In the waning minutes, Mount Olive put pressure on Pfeiffer goalie David Sheridan several times with Adam Caston and Adamski each missing opportunities from close range. With 30 seconds left, Ryan Jasso lofted a service into the box, but Sheridan alertly came off the line to grab the attempt -- securing his teams win and fifth shutout of the season.
Three of Pfeiffer's shutouts came in the final five games.
Mount Olive seniors, Clewis and defender Ryan Brown, played in their final collegiate games.
"Special to me ... Without those two kids, our program isn't where it is today. They've been from the bottom to the top and experienced it all. I commend them for everything they've done for us."
Notes: Mount Olive was shutout for the fifth time this season ... Clewis finished his senior season with 10 goals and three assists, while Stilley had seven goals and one assist ... Fitzmaurice (six goals, three assists), Adam Caston (four goals, five assists) and Bradley Carroll (five goals, one assist) were among MOC's season offensive leaders ... Chris Roush had a 0.93 goals against average in his sophomore season.
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