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RALEIGH—Four championships will be up for grabs on Saturday in the annual North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s state men’s soccer championships.
The games will be played at the Curtis and Jackie Dail Soccer Stadium on the campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh.
The championship quadruple header will start at ten o’clock Saturday morning with the 2-A final. Cardinal Gibbons makes its fourth straight trip to the championship as the Crusaders (23-2-1) take on the Golden Lions of Shelby (19-2-2). Senior forward Daniel Montero is Cardinal Gibbons’ leading goal scorer for the second consecutive year, finding the back of the net 21 times, while Shelby’s offense is keyed by Turner Almond and Ben Cheaney. Almond scored two goals in Shelby’s 3-0 victory over Salisbury in Wednesday night’s Western Regional final.
The 3-A championship is set for 1 p.m. with the Cardinals of Jacksonville (25-3) facing Charlotte Catholic (23-1-1).
Catholic is making a record 15th appearance in the NCHSAA men’s soccer final and has won six previous state crowns, most recently in 2004. The Cougars beat two-time defending state 3-A champion Lake Norman 2-1 in the regional final Wednesday night when midfield Zachary Blake scored the winning goal in the 78th minute. Jacksonville, in its third state final and the 2005 3-A champ, is a veteran team with 13 seniors on its roster. Zach Odum scored both Cardinal goals in the 2-1 win over Burlington Williams on Wednesday night.
The 1-A final is scheduled for a 4 p.m. kickoff, featuring Hampstead Topsail’s Pirates (16-5) against the Bulldogs of Albemarle (16-5-1).
Sean Leemhuis, who was the Coastal Plains Conference Player of the Year, will lead Topsail against the Bulldogs, who got goals from Shane McConologue and Purich Tanprasertkul in a 2-1 regional victory over Kernersville Bishop McGuinness.
The final match on Saturday will be for the 4-A championship, as unbeaten Charlotte Myers Park (24-0) battles Wilmington New Hanover (23-2-1) at 7 p.m.
Myers Park has gotten great goalkeeper work from sophomore Josh Brown and Southwestern 4-A Player of the Year Justin Davis leads the Mustangs’ offensive attack. Brannon Blanke has established a new New Hanover High School single-season goal mark this year with a whopping 49 and goalie Clayton Adams has recorded 11 shutouts.
Tickets will be eight dollars at the gate. Wendy’s is the presenting sponsor of the NCHSAA sports program. The Raleigh Sports Consortium serves as a host city sponsor for these championships, along with the city of Raleigh and the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors’ Bureau.
NORTH CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
2008 STATE MEN’S SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS
Curtis and Jackie Dail Soccer Stadium at North Carolina State University, Raleigh
Saturday, November 15
CLASS 2-A: Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons (23-2-1) vs. Shelby (19-2-2) 10 a.m.
CLASS 3-A: Jacksonville (25-3) vs. Charlotte Catholic (23-1-1), 1 p.m.
CLASS 1-A: Hampstead Topsail (16-5) vs. Albemarle (16-5-1). 4 p.m.
CLASS 4-A: New Hanover (23-2-1) vs. Charlotte Myers Park (24-0), 7 p.m.