CARY—Four championships will be up for grabs on Saturday in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s state men’s soccer championships.
The games will be played at the beautiful SAS Stadium in Cary, the site of both professional and collegiate soccer as well as the previous three years of NCHSAA men’s championships.
A full day of title matches will begin with a ten o’clock Saturday morning kickoff as Raleigh’s Cardinal Gibbons (25-2) takes on the Eagles of Wilkes Central (18-2-1) in the 2-A final. The Crusaders have won 22 straight after a tough 4-3 victory over Southwest Onslow in the Eastern final match, led by freshman forward Seph Babington’s 25 goals. Wilkes Central, in its first visit to the NCHSAA men’s soccer finals, is led by Kevin Mazariegos (34 goals, eight assists) and Shay Lovette (30 goals, a whopping 32 assists).
The 1-A game at 1 p.m. send the Bulldogs of Thomasville (16-5-2) against Manteo (19-2-3). Thomasville knocked off defending state 1-A champ Siler City Jordan-Matthews in sudden death overtime in the state quarterfinals, getting the winning goal from senior forward Walter Cruz. Then Cruz went wild, scoring all five goals for the Bulldogs in a 5-3 Western Regional championship victory over Highlands, giving him a whopping 47 for the season.
Senior forward Ryan Evans paces Manteo with 39 goals and 15 assists and his team has outscored the opposition 20-4 in state playoff competition.
The 3-A championship scheduled for 4 p.m. will send the Cardinals of Jacksonville (15-7-1) against Mooresville’s Blue Devils (20-3). Jacksonville kept nearby rival White Oak from making a fourth consecutive appearance in the finals with a 2-1 victory in the state quarterfinals and then beat Northeast Guilford 4-0 for the Eastern championship.
Mooresville, in the finals for the fourth time, enter the finals on a 12-game winning streak bolstered by a balanced offensive attack and stingy defense with 11 shutouts.
The final match of the day should be a great one in a battle of unbeatens for the 4-A championship, as Apex (22-0-1) takes on North Mecklenburg (24-0). Apex, the 2000 4-A runner-up, has only a scoreless tie with Cary as a blemish on its record. Junior forward T.J. Beaulieu paces the Cougars in scoring with 28 goals.
North Meck is back in the finals for the first time since 1998. Viking keeper Alex Moreno has been brilliant in goal (0.27 goals against average) and senior forward Brendan Greehy has scored 21 goals to lead North offensively.
Tickets will be eight dollars at the gate.
NORTH CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
2005 STATE MEN’S SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS
SAS Stadium, Cary
Saturday, November 19, 2005
CLASS 2-A: Cardinal Gibbons (25-2) vs. Wilkes Central (18-2-1), 10 a.m.
CLASS 1-A: Manteo (19-2-3) vs. Thomasville (16-5-2), 1 p.m.
CLASS 3-A: Jacksonville (15-7-1) vs. Mooresville (20-3), 4 p.m.
CLASS 4-A: Apex (22-0-1) vs. North Mecklenburg (24-0) ,7 p.m.