Sandhills Thunder Engineers Dramatic Win in Classic Soccer
Local upper-level soccer took advantage of last weekend's nice weather to get in some exciting contests.
Location. Location. Location.
Michael Hieronymus was in the right spot for the game winner in Sandhills Thunder's 3-2 victory over Onslow County Soccer Association's Coastal Crew in last Saturday's U18 Classic tilt at Morganton Road.
With time short and the score tied at 2-all, Hieronymus was staked out in the right location when a Coastal Crew goal kick was deflected. With the Crew keeper out of position and the gate to the goal wide open, Hieronymus pulled the trigger and bent the ball into the net with a left-footed strike from 25 yards out to put Thunder up 3-2.
Thunder had bolted to an early lead with a pair of first-half shots, first when Hieronymus served up a pass from the 18 to a charging Matt Sessoms, who punched in the point.
Tyler Dawson beat the keeper to the ball for the quick touch that put the second point on the board, giving Thunder a 2-0 lead at the intermission.
Coastal Crew answered in the second period, first on a hard shot to the net off the left side, then on a direct kick that hit the cross bar and deflected into the goal to tie the match.
Brad McKeever and Sessoms handled the goalkeeping duties for Thunder.
Thunder improves to 3-0-0 and sits at the top of the heap in the First Division East.
Sandhills Rush rolled past the East Wake Twisters 4-0 in Sunday's U12 Challenge clash in Wendell.
Stephen Sawyer started the run for Rush with the last touch on a midfield volley for a 1-0 lead. Rush doubled the damage when Zack Eiserman delivered a pass into the middle where Gerardo Martinez-Pineda punched the point in to put Rush up 2-0.
On the next series, Sawyer and Eiserman teamed up for the point when Sawyer dropped a high lob in front of the goal where Eiserman finished with a header. Martinez-Pineda wrapped up the rout with a midfield boomer that dropped in over the keeper's head.
Connor Hees went the full distance in the goal with 10 saves for the match. Rush will be wearing SYSL green and looking for some Irish luck this weekend when they play in the Saint Patrick's Day Cup in Columbia, S.C.
Sandhills Fierce deadlocked 1-1 with Triangle Futbol Club Express in U10 Challenge competition Sunday in Cary.
The head-to-head duel was a big step up from last fall's confrontations with the Cary club where Fierce had fallen twice.
Fierce got the first strike eight minutes into the second period when Brianna Embler telegraphed Sydnie Kavanaugh's corner kick to Rae Nunez for a 1-0 lead. The Express sneaked in the back door two minutes later to knot the score at 1-1 on a close shot behind Fierce goalie Olivia McKinney.
The balance of the battle would be a defensive struggle paced by Chloe Hoffman, Alyssa Stroker and Kavanaugh, and with both teams matching shots and saves for the remainder of the match.
Fierce, now 2-0-1, travels to Clayton today to face Johnston United Soccer Association Courage.
Home field didn't provide the Sandhills Vipers the advantage needed to top the Rocky Mount Rockers in a 4-1 loss in Saturday's U12 Classic contest at Morganton Road.
Adam Howard redirected a deflection off a Rocker defender in the 24th minute for the Vipers' lone goal.
Down just 2-1 at the break, the Vipers were still in the hunt for the win until late in the match when the Rockers stung them with a pair of points that put the game out of reach. The Vipers are still at .500 with a 2-2-0 record.
The Sandhills Cyclones made the run to Rocky Mount Saturday hoping to chill undefeated league leader Rocky Mount Heat in U13 Classic play, but a first-half flash from the Heat left the Cyclones on the short end of a 3-1 match.
The Cyclones reeled off several early shots, but Heat grabbed the first goal, then converted a corner kick to go up 2-0. A deep Heat shot that skimmed airborne Cyclones goalkeeper Jordan Bridgeman's fingertips made it 3-0 at the half.
The Cyclones went on the attack in the second half, with quick results as Allyson Parziale booted a bomb from midfield that dropped in behind the Heat keeper for a Cyclone goal that cut the margin to 3-1.
Persistent pressure kept Heat on its heels as the Cyclones kept their offensive third under siege for most of the period, firing frequently, but falling short at the target and finishing in arrears 3-1.
The Cyclones are now 1-3-0.
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