10/23/11 — Cleveland upsets Aycock in ECC tournament

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Cleveland upsets Aycock in ECC tournament

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 23, 2011 12:49 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Charles B. Aycock got caught sleep walking.

And Cleveland opened the door for a new Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference boys' soccer tournament champion Saturday evening.

Jack Hunt scored on a cross in the 71st minute of the Rams' 2-1, quarterfinal-round triumph on the Hardy Talton Stadium pitch. The defeat ended the Golden Falcons' phenomenal run as the six-time defending ECC tournament king.

"We were lazy all night," said Aycock head coach Kevin Adkins. "We slept walk through the entire game. I told them at the beginning of the game that you've got to have a lot of heart if you want to continue playing this year.

"You have to play hard, we failed to do that and that's why we lost the ballgame."

Sixth-seeded Cleveland (3-16-3 overall) claimed its first-ever decision against Aycock in six meetings. All six contests have been decided one goal.

The Rams controlled possession for more than 70 percent of the game and constantly intercepted errant passes by the Golden Falcons. Aycock missed three starters due to various reasons and their backups failed to generate attacks or create pressure in Cleveland's defensive third of the field.

Golden Falcons keeper Nick Hilker (eight saves) was victimized by a defense that permitted 22 shots, but less than half on frame.

"The first 15 minutes I thought we played well," said Adkins. "But then everything just started going downhill. We didn't play ... can't even pass to our own players when we're going (forward) with the ball.

"We had no midfield attack ... terribly flat all night."

Aycock (11-7-0) broke the scoreless tie in the ninth minute.

Ronnie Person threw the ball in from the left side and Cleveland keeper Paul Johnson (four saves) got a glove on the ball. Juan Pina picked up the deflection, fired a goal-scoring shot between Johnson and the near post for the 1-0 advantage.

Cleveland slowly turned the tempo in its favor and knotted the contest at 1-1 on Jacob Burton's penalty kick in the 28th minute.

Play became chippy and turned physical for the remaining 52 minutes. The teams combined for 26 penalties (fouls) and the Golden Falcons drew threw yellow cards compared to two for the Rams.

A poorly-cleared ball by the Aycock defense led to Cleveland's deciding goal. Rodrigo Gutierrez dribbled into the box and fired a cross to Hunt, who was running toward the far post. Hunt's shot bounced off the post and dropped into the net.

The Golden Falcons saw their string of 13 straight ECC tournament victories come to a deflating end.

"This was not the team you wanted to lose to," said Adkins.