09/19/07 — Wayne Christian dealt another heartbreaker

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Wayne Christian dealt another heartbreaker

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 19, 2007 2:43 PM

Oh no, not again.

A victim of one-goal losses during the last 10 days of play, Wayne Christian watched another opponent celebrate a late victory Tuesday evening.

Garrett Bostwick supplied the game-winning goal in the 77th minute as defending state champion Trinity Academy of Raleigh escaped 1-0 on the Eagles' pitch. The No. 1-ranked Tigers (8-2 overall) seized sole possession of the Class 1-A Carolina Christian Conference lead at 6-0, while the Eagles endured their first league defeat in seven tries.

Wayne Christian (8-4) dropped its second straight one-goal decision and third overall in its last six contests.

"My defense played an outstanding game," said Eagles head coach Daryl Anderson. "I told my guys before the game I wanted to anchor down on defense because every team they have played in our conference, they've beaten them in double digits.

"I figured they had more firepower than what they actually had."

Trinity couldn't find the passing lanes as Wayne Christian clogged up its defensive third of the field with 10 players. The Tigers did fire shots on goal, only to be denied by 6-foot-8 keeper Eric Williams, who recorded 11 saves in the opening half.

Anderson's strategy created a downside, however. Once the Eagle defense cleared the ball, no one was available at midfield for the pass. Trinity's players constantly intercepted the balls and re-organized their attacks on goal.

"That was my fault," said Anderson. "We do need more midfield and up-front play. I think our skills and ball movement is there, but I don't think we talk good enough to each other.

"And we freeze up in big games."

The Eagles opened the second half in aggressive fashion and prevented the Tigers from creating the tempo. Trinity still attempted shots on goal, but Williams (season-high 19 saves) constantly used his body and height to keep the ball out the net.

The Tigers dominated the midfield and pushed forward against an Eagle defense that showed signs of fatigue at the 70-minute mark. Williams made two great saves on angled shots, but Bostwick -- a senior tri-captain -- felt it was a matter of time before Trinity scored.

"We just had to find gaps whenever they opened or we had to play it wide and find the through ball to the middle," said Bostwick. "We had the momentum, so I figured it we didn't score in regular time, we would have scored in overtime.

"I guess I wasn't really worried."

Wayne Christian teased the crowd in the 74th minute.

Gregory Alexander took the ball away from a Trinity player and switched fields with a 30-yard cross to Brian Alexander. Brian rifled a right-footed shot toward the far post, but Tiger keeper James Skinner smothered it for his only save of the game.

Two minutes later, Bostwick rescued Trinity.

The Tigers organized a strike outside the penalty area and sophomore Tyler Lucas squeezed a ball through the Eagle defense. Bostwick did the rest.

"It was a scramble ... a through ball and I was trying to find it," said Bostwick. "After I got around the two defenders, it was a ball on goal and I just put it in. We needed to play to someone's feet, we found it and it worked out."

Trinity grabbed the inside track to the CCC regular-season title.

The Tigers owned a decisive 24-2 edge in shots on goal and attempted five corner kicks in the 80-minute skirmish. Wayne Christian endured its second straight shutout after winning a penalty-kick shootout last Friday against Wilmington Christian.

"I really believe if we had played offense in the first half like we did in the second half, we'd at least scored," said Anderson. "I think they got to where they believed they could play with this team. I'm looking forward to the conference tournament in October."

The tournament champion earns the automatic bid to the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association playoffs.