10/03/12 — Wayne Christian soccer emerges victorious on senior day

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Wayne Christian soccer emerges victorious on senior day

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 3, 2012 1:49 PM

Fatigue could have played a role.

Senior day emotions could have been a factor, too.

But once Wayne Christian's offense clicked into gear, Cresset Christian had no answer on the Carolina Christian 1-A Conference boys' soccer scene Tuesday afternoon. Chris Easom and Austin Howell notched two goals apiece in a 6-0 victory on a rain-soaked pitch.

The Eagles (5-5-0 overall, 5-4-0 CCC) conclude regular-season play Friday and Saturday at the Tidal Wave Invitational in Wilmington.

"They were really sluggish. They probably playing sixty to sixty-five percent of what they should be playing as far as their energy level," Wayne Christian head coach Daryl Anderson said. "The second half, they picked it up a little bit. The shots were not on, but they played through it. It wasn't like what we had last week."

Four days ago, the Eagles tallied six goals on nine shots (66.7 percent) in a dominating offensive performance against Lee Christian. They were held to one goal in a loss against Grace of Sanford on Monday, and tired legs could have contributed to the Eagles' slow start in their regular-season home finale.

Wayne Christian missed its first nine shots against Cresset (2-7-0) before Easom broke through with an unassisted goal in the 25th minute.

Howell collected back-to-back goals later in the half with the second coming off an assist from Matthew Coulter.

The Eagles owned an 18-3 edge in shots at the break.

"They really didn't talk in the first half and weren't going to the ball," Anderson said. "The second half, they corrected that. They're still not 100 percent ... not where they should be."

Kevin Wheeler, one of seven Wayne Christian seniors honored before kickoff, converted a penalty kick after drawing a hard foul inside the 18-yard box. Fellow senior Tyler Lacerda came off the bench to score off senior Jamie Tucker's assist.

Easom, a senior, completed the scoring with his second goal of the day.

The quartet -- along with seniors Dylan Smith, Eddie Taylor and Baron Wise -- have sparked a second-half turnaround that could prove pivotal during the upcoming CCC tournament. The Eagles have won four of their last six matches.

"I don't know how to explain it," Anderson said of the late-season surge. "It seemed like every time we lost somebody, we got stronger. I'm going to give God the credit. I think God has brought this team together and they're starting to play as a team.

"I've coached a lot of teams and this team literally plays like a team. It's not a one- or two-man show. It's a team."