08/09/18 — PREP SOCCER: Chargers seek elusive Cup

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PREP SOCCER: Chargers seek elusive Cup

By Aviel Smolka
Published in Sports on August 9, 2018 5:51 AM



If you're not first, you're last.

Wayne Country Day has finished second three consecutive times at the Charger Cup, which is played on its home turf.

And even though WCDS moved up from the 1-A classification to 2-A this year, head coach Steve Ellis remains confident his team can win the elusive Cup.

The three-day, four-team, round-robin tournament starts today. Rocky Mount Academy plays Ridgecroft at 3:30 p.m., while the Chargers start their 2018 season against Neuse Christian Academy at 5:30 p.m.

"We've always finished second, so it'd be nice to get one over the line this year," said Ellis. "The important things are the 2-A games against Neuse on Thursday and Rocky Mount on Saturday. It's a bonus if we can win the Cup outright but picking up wins against those two teams is the most important thing."

The Chargers lost to Hickory Christian Academy in the semifinals of the state 1-A playoffs last season. Ridgecroft and Neuse Academy were both eliminated in the second round. Rocky Mount earned an at-large bid to the 2-A state playoffs. Caldwell County bounced the Eagles from the tournament in the first round.

All four teams expect to have good seasons.

Ellis believes the 2018 WCDS team can be as good as last year's group that went 18-4. Leading goal-scorer Ben Cohen, Luis Lopez and Jack Talton all graduated. But Ellis brings back a strong core of players that should score plenty of goals this season.

Nehemiya Shaw, Marquise Newell and Caleb Brewer all scored double-digit goals in 2017. Christian Garloch, who scored eight goals a year ago, is another player to keep an eye on this season.

Ellis wants his team to play smart, focused and aggressive.

"We'll go out there and attack, move the ball and create chances," Ellis said. "Hopefully we'll get the results that we need."

The Chargers practiced well and stayed healthy over the summer.

All that's left to do is finish first.