08/18/06 — Getting charged up - Steed scores twice for WCDS

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Getting charged up - Steed scores twice for WCDS

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on August 18, 2006 2:18 PM

With seven starters back from a team that finished 12-6-1 last season and earned a No. 3 seed for the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A state tournament last season, Wayne Country Day coach Paul Estrada believes his team has the talent and experience to be right back at the top of the rankings in 2006.

The Chargers took a solid first step in that direction on Thursday afternoon as they posted four goals in the first half on their way to a 5-0 win at county rival and non-conference foe, Wayne Christian, in the season opener for both teams.

Senior Sam Steed, WCDS' leading returning scorer, tallied two goals and one assist in the first half, while fellow senior George Mayo and freshman Cameron Ford knocked in one goal each before intermission. Junior Jeff Franklin pushed the score to the final margin six minutes into the second half -- scoring from close range on a follow shot off a corner kick.

"It's early to make predictions, and I don't want to be too presumptuous, but I would like for this team to contend for state and keep building," Estrada said. "I like our mental preparation. We've been practicing a while, so we are more than fit. Now, we just need someone to step up and take the leadership role on the field."

After missing out on a handful of close scoring chances and five corner kicks within the first 16 minutes, Steed put the Chargers (1-0) on the board with a diving, forward header after a long pass from near midfield from Franklin. Just minutes later, Mayo struck from long range on a high, arching shot from the right wing that tipped off the gloves of Eagles' freshman goalie Travis Thomas and into the net to make it 2-0.

With 10 minutes left in the half, WCDS junior midfielder Cameron Strickland pushed a pass up the left wing and found Steed, who dribbled to his right and found enough daylight to fire an off-balance shot into the left corner as he fell to the ground. Ford's goal came in the waning seconds of the first as he finished a shot in the middle of the box on a Steed pass from the right wing.

Wayne Christian (0-1) never managed to develop a consistent offensive attack and struggled transitioning from defense to offense, especially in the first half. By the end of the first 40 minutes, the Chargers owned an 11-3 shot margin and a 10-2 advantage in corner kicks. Thomas, who finished with six saves overall, turned in several tough stops to keep WCDS from increasing its lead in both halves.

"We're strong at defense and midfield, but our biggest weakness right now is our transitioning to offense," WCS coach Daryl Anderson said.

Franklin's goal came just six minutes into a second half that saw neither team establish much offensive momentum.

Wayne Christian sophomore Spencer Heath had both of the Eagles' shots after intermission as both were turned away by Chargers' goalie David Wilson. Senior Travis Davis anchored WCDS' defense from his sweeper position in the shutout.

Wayne Christian's Eric Williams had a solid effort in the back for the Eagles, who did a much better job of marking after intermission.

Estrada was especially satisfied with the Chargers' ability to play efficiently in several different formations.

"We changed up the formation and played with six midfielders in the middle of the first half ... kept the ball on our end and kept the pressure on them," Estrada said. "We started the game in a 2-5-3, then ended it in a 2-4-4. With four seniors, it brings a lot more maturity and discipline on the field."

The Eagles return to action Aug. 22 as they travel to Northwood Temple, while WCDS faces Charles B. Aycock in Pikeville on Aug. 23.