11/05/06 — Spring Creek, C.B. Aycock ousted from soccer playoffs

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Spring Creek, C.B. Aycock ousted from soccer playoffs

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 5, 2006 2:02 AM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- Senior captain Steven Schlaefer tallied the game's lone goal in the 58th minute, and N.C. School of Science and Math ousted Spring Creek 1-0 in the Class 1-A playoffs earlier Saturday afternoon.

The Unicorns improved to 13-6-1 and will play the Manteo-Camden winner in a third-round, N.C. High School Athletic Association contest next Tuesday.

The Gators, the Carolina/Tar-Roanoke Conference co-champions, finished the year 13-3. Directed by head coach Russell Stephens, they became the fourth team in school history to win a conference championship and playoff game.

A taller and quicker team, NCCSM played a possession game and controlled nearly every possession on a breezy and sun-splashed afternoon. Spring Creek tried to play the ball on the ground, but couldn't create a consistent offensive attack.

"They have a real good midfield and we knew that coming in," said Stephens. "They did a good job of playing the ball outside."

Each team missed a scoring opportunity in the final two minutes.

NCCSM's Adam Askren centered a pass to Schlaefer, who lofted a shot toward the near post. Gator keeper Angel Sanchez (eight saves) nearly misplayed the ball, but managed to smother it right at the goal line.

Spring Creek had a breakaway in the final 20 seconds, but the Unicorns' Max Rose cleared the ball as time expired. The teams settled for a scoreless draw at halftime.

In the second half, the Gators seemed more content to play a defensive-style game. They had trouble pushing the ball forward against a Unicorn defense that constantly intercepted passes near midfield.

Stephens wanted his team to send balls over top of the defense.

"Number 13 (Askren) is the best player in the midfield and was a monster for them," said Stephens. "He caused a lot of chaos in there. When we got ready to send it deep, before we could do that, we tried to play with the ball a little too much.

"They were able to get their foot on it."

The Unicorns organized their game-winning goal off a throw-in near the Spring Creek bench. Noah Gallinger ran onto the ball and flicked a pass to Schlaefer, who was unmarked about 20 yards off the goal. Schlaefer fired a shot that got caught in the wind and hit the crossbar.

The ball bounced just inside the near post past a diving Sanchez.

NCCSM limited Spring Creek to just five shots on goal. Unicorn keepers Steven Nutz and Chuck Jones combined for the shutout.

It was the Gators' third one-goal loss of the season.

"Our kids played with their heart," said Stephens. "It's hard to see the season come to an end."

Five Spring Creek seniors played their final game -- Jose Escobar, Paul Richter, Manuel Moreno, Diego Rivera, Andres Renfigo and Rolando Renfigo.

Class 3-A

PIKEVILLE -- West Brunswick collected two goals within a six-minute stretch and eliminated Charles B. Aycock 2-1 from the NCHSAA 3-A playoffs on Saturday evening.

The Golden Falcons grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute when Carson Sasser converted a throw-in by Tyler Ruffin. Aycock protected its one-goal advantage for 67-plus minutes until the Trojans tallied the equalizer with 37 seconds left in regulation.

West Brunswick knocked home the game-winning goal midway through the first 10-minute overtime session.

"We just couldn't get the ball in the net," said Aycock head coach Kevin Adkins.

Officials negated three Golden Falcon goals. Sasser made contact with the West Brunswick keeper, which erased one goal off the board. Two offsides infractions canceled two additional goals.

Adkins said Aycock had another shot clang off the crossbar in the eighth minute.

"Still it was a good season," said Adkins. "I can't complain."

C.B. Aycock concluded the year 18-3-1.