James Kenan clinches share of Carolina 1A soccer crown
By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on October 17, 2013 1:48 PM
WARSAW -- Winning a conference championship usually requires plenty of skill and a little good fortune.
James Kenan had both on Wednesday evening.
The Tigers scored a pair of second-half goals to defeat Spring Creek, 3-1, and clinched a share of the Carolina 1-A Conference regular-season championship. James Kenan goes for the outright title tonight against Hobbton.
"Regardless of what happens in our last two games we still have to play James Kenan soccer," Kenan head coach Mitchell Quinn said. "I think this is big for our kids and I think what would be much bigger is to go ahead and win the conference. I want to go ahead and knock it out (tonight)."
James Kenan (10-2-2 overall, 9-0-1 CC) benefited from the Gators' misfortune in the first half. Spring Creek's Brayan Lopez had shots hit both the crossbar and the post.
"That would have been big for us had either one of those gone in," Gators' head coach Linda Salter said. "Potentially we could have been up 2-0 versus them going up a goal and us tying it later. We just didn't have it tonight."
Mercedes Gonzalez gathered up a rebound off of Spring Creek keeper Sanchez inside the 18-yard box and slipped it into the back of the net to put Kenan in front 1-0 in the 29th minute.
Ten minutes later, Spring Creek answered as Angel Carmona Morales took Omar Ponce's pass off a free kick and fired a shot past Tigers' keeper Edwin Trinidad.
Kenan seized the momentum in the 41st minute when Daniel Galeno won a loose ball inside the 18-yard box and dribbled past Sanchez before tucking a shot into the back of the net.
"That really gave us some momentum," Quinn said. "That kept us motivated and really helped us out."
The Tigers' midfield consistently cut off passes intended for the Gators' forwards, which limited scoring opportunities. Spring Creek (11-3-1, 8-3-0) tallied just two shots on goal in the second half and failed to generate a quality scoring opportunity.
Kenan held a 13-7 edge in total shots.
"We made some changes in the midfield tonight and we put more speed on the defense because we knew they've got speed," Quinn said. "That really made a big difference."
The Gators played the majority of the game without leading scorer Otto Binar who continues to be bothered by an ankle injury. Binar did not enter the game until the 44th minute and played fewer than 10 minutes.
"We tried it again tonight and he's not ready," Salter said. "That hurts us and that takes away a lot of our offensive threat. I'm pretty sure he'll be ready for the playoffs."
Carlos Rodriguez capped Kenan's scoring in the 69th minute with a tailing shot from just outside the 18-yard box that sailed over Sanchez's head.
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