09/13/12 — Cleveland nips Aycock, 2-1, in ECC soccer

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Cleveland nips Aycock, 2-1, in ECC soccer

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on September 13, 2012 1:48 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Charles B. Aycock's stretch of three games in three days is finally over.

The Golden Falcons' quest for offensive consistency is a work in progress.

Aycock got its offense going in the second half, but could not produce a game-tying goal in a 2-1 loss to Cleveland on Wednesday evening.

The Rams improved to 4-0 against Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference opposition and remained atop the ECC standings. The Golden Falcons (2-3-1 overall) fell to 2-2 in league play.

Cleveland controlled possession throughout the better part of the first half as the Rams' midfield played passes up the field to their forwards. Jacob Burton's shot in the sixth minute clanged off the post. Nolan Stelzner's shot in the 14th minute was turned away by Aycock keeper Brandon Merritt.

Brandon Gremillion's shot in the 13th minute rolled up Merritt's arm and off his body before finding its way to the back of the net.

"Cleveland had a nice style and we were confused a little bit as to what was going on," Golden Falcons' assistant coach Byron Adkins said. "It took us until halftime to change some things around in our midfield and it seemed like it worked better in the second half."

Garrett Lee collected a loose ball inside the 18-yard box off a corner kick and fired a shot past Merritt as the lead grew to 2-0.

Aycock missed an opportunity to cut the deficit in half in the 31st minute as Juan Pina's penalty kick was stopped by Cleveland keeper Gio Solis.

"The penalty kick is huge looking back," Adkins said. "If (Pina) scores that it makes it 2-1 and then Bobby (Hampton) has a great goal it makes it 2-2. I think that puts us further into the game and things could have been a little bit different for us."

The Golden Falcons demonstrated more urgency in the second half and began to assert themselves in the midfield. Bobby Hampton won a loose ball outside the 18-yard box and ripped a tailing shot past Solis to trim the margin to 2-1.

Bailey Lynch's header in the 63rd minute missed just high and Aycock could not cash in a corner kick opportunity in the 68th minute.

The Golden Falcons' last gasp came in the 77th minute. With Collin Zacharzuk streaking toward the goal and a Rams' defender giving chase, Lynch's pass forward was a little too strong and Solis was there to snatch it up in the 18-yard box.

"At halftime we changed some things around and I thought in the second half we were a much better team," Adkins said. "I thought we were more deserving of maybe a draw."

Cleveland finished with a 15-6 edge in shots on goal and a 7-3 advantage in corner kicks. Merritt tallied 10 saves.

Aycock continues ECC play Monday at Eastern Wayne.