CARY—Senior forward Walter Cruz knocked in a goal in the first sudden victory period to lift Thomasville to a dramatic 4-3 victory over Manteo at SAS Soccer Park in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state 1-A men’s soccer championship on Saturday.
Cruz, who had opened the scoring with a goal in the first 3:10 of the contest, was named the Most Valuable Player in the championship. He ended the season with a whopping 49 goals on the year.
Cruz had the game-winner in the state quarterfinals in overtime against defending 1-A championship Siler City Jordan-Matthews and then scored all five goals for his team in a 5-3 win over Highlands in the Western championship.
The game was knotted at 2-2 at halftime, and then senior forward Ji Soo Noh gave Thomasville a 3-2 lead at the 55:35 mark. But Manteo’s Daniel McMurran scored the tying goal with just over eight minutes to play and forced the game into overtime. The two teams were scoreless in the regular 10-minute overtime periods and then went into the first of two five-minute sudden-victory stanzas.
Thomasville completed a remarkable run to its first soccer state title. The Bulldogs had won only a single postseason game ever prior to this season, in seven trips to the playoffs. Thomasville finished with a 17-5-2 record while Manteo ended the campaign 19-3-3 and had an 11-match winning string snapped.
NORTH CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
2005 STATE 1-A MEN’S SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP
SAS Soccer Park, Cary
1 2 OT OT OT
Manteo 2 1 0 0 0 -- 3
Thomasville 2 1 0 0 1 --4
3:10 T – Walter Cruz
10:22 T – Victor Sanchez
30:12 M—Jeff Towers
36:46 M—Tim McEachern
55:35 T—Ji Soo Noh
71:53 M – Daniel McMurran
103:57 (Sudden victory) T – Walter Cruz