CB Aycock soccer future is now
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 6, 2011 1:48 PM
To no one's surprise, the rebuilding phase of the Charles B. Aycock boys' soccer program has finally arrived.
But don't think the Golden Falcons are resting on their laurels.
Idle for much of the first three weeks of regular-season play, the team has been finding its chemistry and identity during daily practices. The current senior players are developing their leadership skills and trying to get a young group -- four juniors and 25 freshmen/sophomores combined -- to gel and continue what has been a stellar second half of the decade for the program.
Aycock has compiled 89 regular-season victories since 2006 and claimed an unprecedented six consecutive Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference tournament championships since 2005. They've fashioned a 51-9-2 record in ECC regular-season play and have gone 3-5 in five N.C. High School Athletic Association playoff appearances during that stretch.
"We've had a good run," said Golden Falcons head coach Kevin Adkins. "A lot of work is ahead. With playing time we'll get a lot better. Like I said at the beginning of the season, I'd be happy with a three or four (finish) in the conference.
"I think that with as young a ballclub as we have with the seniors we lost last year, it's hard for the young kids to come in and adapt right off the bat."
A combined 15 seniors graduated in 2009 and 2010.
Still, senior co-captains Chase Thompson and Cade Ivey contend the winning attitude and hard work wasn't lost when those previous seniors received their diploma. Ivey notched the game-tying goal and Thompson buried the game-winning penalty kick in a 4-3, overtime triumph over Triton just six days ago.
"It's going to take some time," said Thompson. "It's a young group. Practice has been hard and frustrating at times, but you're like a family ... just suck it up and hope it gets better."
Unlike previous teams, Aycock's success will depend on its ability to control the temp this fall. Adkins said the team doesn't have the speedsters up top to run onto balls lofted over the opposing defenses.
The Golden Falcons must get consistent midfield play, connect passes and stretch the defense on occasion to create shot opportunities. Six players have scored one goal apiece during Aycock's 2-0-0 start this season, but they've also failed to convert set pieces, which has been one of their major strengths during their remarkable conference run.
"When we settle down and start passing it around, we have pretty good ball control," said Adkins. "It's something the boys need to work on."
Aycock survived its ECC opener despite playing Triton's tempo.
Ivey said that with lack of game experience, finding confidence at their positions will determine part of the team's success this fall. He, as well as Thompson, understand the Golden Falcons have a target each time they step onto the pitch for ECC play.
"Conditioning-wise, I think we're decent, but we can obviously get better," said Ivey. "Skill-wise, we have to work a lot on positional play and passing the ball. (Conference) is going to be a little tougher, but we're ready for it."