10/26/06 — C.B. Aycock is ECC soccer tournament king -- again

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C.B. Aycock is ECC soccer tournament king -- again

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 26, 2006 2:47 PM

King me -- again.

Charles B. Aycock avoided Wilson Beddingfield's overthrow attempt and retained its Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference men's soccer tournament crown with a 2-1 victory at Little Big Horn on Wednesday evening.

The top-seeded Golden Falcons collected their ECC-leading 17th victory and avenged their lone regular-season loss in conference play.

"We set some goals at the beginning of the year. We wanted to defend our conference title and tournament title," said Aycock senior Carson Sasser. "This is a big win ... definitely for some of us with it being our senior year.

"We really wanted this."

Aycock collected its second consecutive one-goal victory and fifth overall in six conference games -- regular-season and tournament combined -- this season. The Golden Falcons drew an opening-round bye for the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs, and will host a second-round contest Nov. 4.

Denied a chance to improve its postseason seeding, Beddingfield (14-7-3) keeps its No. 3 seed. Hunt is seeded second and Eastern Wayne enters as the No. 4 seed.

"We were as flat as flat can be," said Golden Falcons assistant coach Byron Adkins. "An ugly win is an ugly win, and we got the ugliest win of all. But good teams find good ways to win, and tonight we did enough to win."

The Golden Falcons (17-2-1) created scoring chances out of the flow of play, but had nothing to show for it in the 80-minute affair. However, they were opportunistic off set pieces.

Sasser opened the scoring in the 17th minute.

Aycock drew a hard foul just outside the penalty area near its sideline. Alex Rodriguez hit a soft shot into the 6-yard box. Bruin keeper Troy Cashion protected the back post, but no one properly marked Sasser, who camped out at the near post.

"I screamed 'it's just like a corner,'" said Sasser. "The ball came through and I let everyone know it was mine. As soon as it hit my head, I knew it was in."

The Golden Falcons caught a break in the 36th minute. A flourish of action in the box produced a handball violation by the Bruins. Alex Rodriguez easily converted the penalty kick to make it 2-0.

It was Aycock's 44th goal in ECC play this season.

Sasser admitted he and his teammates displayed a passive attitude in the second half.

The Golden Falcons didn't take a shot on goal until the final 10 minutes of regulation and thwarted numerous goal-scoring opportunities by the Bruins.

"When you have a 2-0 lead, you have a tendency to sit back (defensively) and watch the clock, watch the ball and boot it out," said Sasser. "That's not the way to go about doing it."

Beddingfield pulled within 2-1 in the 58th minute. Eric Nguyen headed in a corner kick from Omar Guerra.

"Playing Beddingfield is a little different than playing an Eastern Wayne or Hunt," said Sasser. "They like to run at you one-on-one whereas Eastern Wayne and Hunt like to the pass the ball in triangles.

"Beddingfield comes right at you, challenges you and makes you take the ball from them."

The Bruins continued with their pressure, but couldn't find the mark again. They outshot the Golden Falcons 19-13, including a 12-5 advantage in the second half.

Keeper Jared Kennedy made two phenomenal saves in the final five minutes to preserve Aycock's one-goal margin. Kennedy finished with a tournament-high 10 stops.