Mustangs Start Soccer Playoffs Tonight
The North Moore boys’ soccer team will be making its fourth straight appearance in the state 1-A playoffs today when it entertains Monroe at 6 p.m.
The Mustangs qualified for the playoffs by finishing second in the Yadkin Valley Conference behind regular-season champion East Montgomery.
North Moore, ranked 11th in the latest coaches’ 1-A polls, had an 8-1-1 league mark with its only loss coming at East Montgomery by a 1-0 score. The Mustangs had played the Eagles to a 0-0 tie in their meeting in Robbins. North Moore finished the regular season with an overall record of 10-4-1, with most of their losses coming at the hands of larger schools.
Monroe comes into the playoffs as a wild card out of the Rocky River 1-A/2-A Conference, where it had a 7-7 conference record and 11-10 overall record. The Rocky River Conference has a couple of teams ranked in the coaches’ poll with Central Academy ranked seventh in the 1-A polls and Cuthbertson ranked sixth in the 2-A polls.
“I don’t really know anything about Monroe,” said North Moore coach Michael Shamberger. “But when you make it this far, all games are usually tough. So I expect a good game.”
The Mustangs finished the regular season on a three-game winning streak and won six out of their final seven matches. In their final match of the season in Robbins, North Moore beat Albemarle, who finished in third place in the conference, by a 3-1 score.
“We played our best soccer in our last game,” said Shamberger. “We started out slow, but once we got going, we really played well.”
North Moore won its first-round contest last year, beating fellow conference member South Stanly 3-0. They lost in the second round to Lake Norman Charter by a 3-0 score. In their previous two playoff visits, the Mustangs lost their opening-round matches.
Shamberger will put a veteran squad on the field in tonight’s first-round game. The Mustangs are led by Pedro Ugarte, who is leading the team in scoring this season. Other top scorers expected to contribute are senior Luis Solache and junior Alejandro Mendoza. The defense will be anchored by senior captain Oliver Castrejon and sophomore goalkeeper Danny Garcia.
The winner of this match will play East Surry in the second round, scheduled to be played Saturday. East Surry got a first-round bye based on being the No. 1 seed from the Northwest 1-A/2-A Conference.
Other members from the Yadkin Valley Conference qualifying for the playoffs were East Montgomery, with a first-round bye based on its No. 1 seed.
Albemarle received the league’s No. 3 seed, earning a first-round home matchup with wild card Union Academy. Gray Stone got a wild-card berth and will travel to Bishop McGuinness, the No. 3 seed from the Northwest Conference.
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