Patriots Top Hoggard, Fall to Cardinal Gibbons
The Pinecrest boys' soccer team jumped back into the NCSCA 4A rankings in the 14th spot with a 3-0 win over then-No. 10 Wilmington Hoggard at Fayetteville Academy on Saturday morning.
The Patriots (3-3-1) continued their late summer campaign of matches against high quality opponents on Monday, dropping a 3-2 decision on the road to Cardinal Gibbons (7-1), the fifth-ranked team in 3A.
Midway through the first half of Saturday's match, the Patriots' Max Clare crossed a ball from the left that connected with Hayden Little in the Viking penalty box. Screened off from taking a shot by the goalkeeper, Little tapped the ball off to teammate Jordan Beck, who sent a soft, spinning ball into the right corner of the net.
"Hayden set me up and it was just a nice tap-in finish," Beck said. "They're a great team so I just wanted to put it away early and get us started. We haven't been finishing that well lately."
Late in the first half, left back Morgan Van Camp played a ball forward to Dane Nelsen about 20 yards away from the goal. Nelsen chipped the ball over the head of the oncoming goalkeeper only to have him retreat and briefly gain control of it. But when the ball came free, Nelsen was there for the tap-in that made it 2-0.
"I think getting the second goal was huge," Patriot coach Todd Abbey said.
The Patriots appeared to be well in control at this point. Then, in the 11th minute of the second half, midfielder Richard Palmer threaded a pass between two defenders to Jimmy Casey in the penalty box. A Viking defender fouled him and Patrick White converted the penalty kick that made it 3-0.
J.T. Stilwell replaced Mitchell Dotson as goalkeeper late in the second half and helped preserve the Patriot shut out with a save in a one-on-one confrontation with a Viking attacker.
Hoggard fell to 4-3-1 with the loss. The match was the second part of a morning double-header at the neutral sight. In the first game, New Hanover defeated Fayetteville Academy 1-0.
Through the Hoggard match, the Patriots had taken on top 15 4A teams in three of their previous four, going 1-1-1 against the ranked squads.
They tied No. 15 T.C. Roberson 2-2 and lost 2-0 to No. 13 Leesville Road before defeating the Vikings.
"I felt in all four games (including an earlier 3-2 loss to a New Hanover team that was ranked at the time) we had the run of play," Abbey said. "It was nice to actually finish one and it was good for the boys, too."
On Monday in Raleigh, the second goal of the evening by Kevin Grasso with about 12 minutes remaining in the match brought the Patriots even against Cardinal Gibbons.
But with about five minutes to go, Grasso ran into the center official near midfield while carrying the ball. The Crusaders took advantage and attacked in transition. That led to the penalty kick that provided the deciding goal. Dane Nelsen and Chris Sanders assisted on the goals by Grasso.
This week's schedule includes a Southeastern Conference match at home tonight (7 p.m.) against Lumberton and a makeup nonconference date at Sanderson on Thursday.
Contact Charlie Bergmann at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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