Eagles cruise into CCC championship match
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 12, 2007 3:25 PM
Avoid the upset.
Daryl Anderson stressed that message before Thursday afternoon's contest against Northwood Temple, and he repeated it during the 10-minute halftime break.
But the second-year Wayne Christian men's soccer coach wondered if his three-word warning had fallen on deaf ears. He got his answer nearly five minutes into the second half.
The Eagles collected two goals within a four-minute stretch and rolled past the Vikings 8-1 in their Class 1-A Carolina Christian Conference semifinal-round tournament game. Six players scored for Wayne Christian, which faces reigning CCC and state champion Trinity of Raleigh in the title match at 5 p.m. today.
The winner earns the league's automatic bid to the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association tournament.
Wayne Christian (12-4-1 overall) couldn't convert its shots on frame during the first 13 minutes of play. Balls either sailed over the crossbar or rolled wide of the post, giving Anderson the impression that beating Northwood a third time this season might become a monumental task.
The Eagles won the previous meetings 4-0 and 5-2.
"My main concern with the team this year is we play a lot to the level of our competition," said Anderson. "Sometimes when we go into a game like this, we're losing 1-0 before we know it. I told them that this is our new season and starting 0-1 was out of the question; not an option."
An "own" goal changed Anderson's outlook in the 14th minute.
Hayden Gardner's corner kick sailed across the goal mouth and Bradley Yelverton tracked it down near the left-corner flag. Yelverton fired a cross into the penalty area that deflected off a Northwood defender and into the net.
About 9 minutes later, Yelverton received a pass from Greg Alexander and connected on a goal-scoring shot inside the right post.
The two-goal advantage prompted Anderson to replace 6-foot-8 starting goalkeeper Eric Williams (sprained ankle) with Jeremy Jefferson. More than 11 minutes later, the Vikings cut the deficit in half, but Anderson refused to put Williams back into goal.
Northwood's Urim Park received a pass through the Eagles' defense and quickly got into a one-on-one breakaway against Jefferson. Jefferson came too far off his line and attempted a slide tackle to disrupt Park's charge on goal.
But Park stepped over Jefferson and kicked the ball into an open net.
"We let them get a cheap goal and that worried me a little bit," said Anderson. "I think it surprised everyone when they scored on us. But I felt like my defense could handle them."
Anderson encouraged his team to remain focused at halftime. He reverted back to his starting lineup and the change produced dividends within the first five minutes.
Brian Alexander ripped a right-footed blast off Yelverton's assist that dropped inside the back post. His score ignited a five-goal uprising which lasted 30-plus minutes.
"Things just started clicking," said Anderson.
Gardner, Shea Glaesman, Jonathan Roberts and Kyle Sasser each tallied a second-half goal. Yelverton, Sasser and Matt Davis supplied one assist apiece during that stretch.
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