08/10/17 — PREP SOCCER: Chargers eager to claim Cup

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PREP SOCCER: Chargers eager to claim Cup

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 10, 2017 5:52 AM


The bridesmaid.


Could this be the year that Wayne Country Day finally claims the Charger Cup on its home pitch?

The three-day, round-robin tournament kicks off today. Ridgecroft meets Parrott Academy at 3:30 p.m. and the Chargers launch their 2017 campaign against Cape Fear Academy at 5:30 p.m.

Winning the Cup is the first item on the Chargers' 'to-do' list.

"We've been runner-up both times," WCDS head coach Steve Ellis said. "Last year, we should have won it, but a few little lapses cost us. The lads are eager to get the hands on the trophy this year. They know it's not going to be easy and will have to work together to get the job done."

The state 1-A runners-up last season, the Chargers eliminated Ridgecroft in the quarterfinals. Parrott and Cape Fear Academy earned at-large bids to the 2-A state playoffs. Each tumbled in the opening round.

All four teams have high expectations.

None more so than WCDS.

Noah "Bricks" Adkins and Hayes Gerrard, who sat with a season-ending injury, have graduated. But Ellis returns a talented and strike-minded nucleus that should manufacture goals -- possibly in droves.

Ben Cohen, Nehemiya Shaw, Luis Lopez, Hunter Bryson and Marquise Newell each turned in double-digit goal-scoring efforts in 2016. DJ Drew caught Ellis' eye during the offseason and expects him to make an impact.

Consistent play is Ellis' top priority.

"We are looking to move the ball quick, create space to attack, while staying solid at the back for the counter attack," Ellis said. "We want to have possession of the ball, but have possession with a purpose."

Practices have been positive.

Injuries? None.

Time to put a check mark on that 'to-do' list.