09/12/06 — WCDS overcomes sluggish start

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WCDS overcomes sluggish start

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 12, 2006 2:08 PM

The Wayne Country Day men's soccer team overcame another sluggish start and overwhelmed another county rival Monday afternoon.

Senior captain Sam Steed and junior striker Joseph Cha each notched a hat trick (three goals) in the Chargers' 10-1, non-conference conquest of Southern Wayne. Six players tallied at least one goal for Wayne Country Day, which rose to 6-1 overall and 3-1 against county opposition.

It was the Saints' season-opening match.

"We're trying to develop this program and think positively," said first-year Southern Wayne coach Scott Underhill. "I've been telling the boys since the first day (of practice) that you can't allow yourself mental breakdowns; always have to keep your chin up.

"You have to keep plugging away and getting after it."

The Saints did just that for 25-plus minutes against the more-experienced Chargers, who had trouble adjusting to the visitors' speed up top. Underhill's team dictated the tempo and forced Wayne Country Day into a running game, much to the dismay of second-year coach Paul Estrada.

Southern Wayne, of the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference, constantly capitalized on its speed and kicked the ball forward past the defense onto goal throughout the first 10 minutes. Mario Aguilar, David Zometa and Carlos Zometa easily zipped past their, and each just missed converting shot attempts.

"I don't like to play a running game, which a lot of these teams around here do," said Estrada. "They kick it forward, chase it down and try to capitalize on a mistake in the backfield."

The Saints did benefit from a Charger mistake, but it came in the goal. Carlos Zometa's shot deflected off a WCDS defender and sailed over the out-stretched hands of keeper Brandon Davis into the net.

Estrada experienced déjà vu at that point.

"We did this against Wayne Christian, too," said Estrada, whose team fell behind by a goal before winning 6-1. "It was 'hey, let's see what they bring to us'. Of course, every team is going to come at us hard and Southern Wayne did.

"They came out the first 15 minutes and really ran on us. They were extremely quick; fast."

Wayne Country Day adapted to Southern Wayne's play in the opening half and tallied four goals within a nine-minute span. Steed opened the Chargers' scoring by finishing a pass from freshman Cameron Ford. Saints keeper Fitch Carrere came too far off his line to challenge and the ball easily rolled past him into goal.

Two minutes later, Steed lofted a free kick from about 25 yards out into the box and junior David Wilson headed the ball past Ferrere's out-stretched gloves. Steed added an unassisted goal and Cha started his hat trick with a bicycle-kick goal off Steed's assist.

Junior Ryan Ford, who played shortstop on Wayne County Post 11's Junior Legion team this summer, got into the scoring act six minutes into the second half. Ford floated a shot from outside the 18-yard box toward the upper left corner to make it 5-1.

The Chargers, ranked No. 1 in the latest N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A poll, changed the game's pace. They organized attacks from the back, worked the ball through the midfield with Cha and took shots on goal.

Defensively, Estrada's team intercepted passes and disrupted the Saints' offensive flow.

"I like the slow tempo," said Estrada. "We teach the kids to move the ball around and make something happen ... take a shot from the outside. It was hard for them at first, but they're getting it."

Wilson, Steed and Cha combined for the next four goals. Junior E.J. York concluded the scoring in the 78th minute.

The Chargers outshot the Saints 43-17. Keepers Davis and Steed, who played the final 12 minutes in goal, combined for eight saves. Carrere collected 13 stops for the Saints.

"We're still in the stages of development; gearing up to get ready for conference play," said Underhill. "This game has allowed me and my coaching staff to see what we have, and what adjustments we need to make on the field.

"Right now, I don't feel there are a lot of adjustments necessary right now."

Southern Wayne opens its home schedule Wednesday against Rosewood and faces Spring Creek on Thursday. The Saints begin their ECC schedule next Monday at Eastern Wayne.

Wayne Country Day takes two days off before traveling to Faith Christian-Rocky Mount on Thursday in the Coastal Plains Independent 1-A opener for both teams. The Chargers return home Saturday afternoon for a battle against Gaston Day, which is currently ranked among the state's top five 1-A teams.

"Great litmus tests for us, those two games," said Estrada. "We could probably play both of those teams somewhere in the state tournament. It will give me a good idea of what we need to improve on and see what these other teams are bringing, too."