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RALEIGHóFour championships will be up for grabs on this weekend in the annual North Carolina High School Athletic Associationís state menís soccer championships.
The games will be played at the Durham Bulls Soccer Stadium at the WRAL Soccer Center in Raleigh. Two games will be played on Friday and two are scheduled for Saturday.
The championship weekend will get underway with the 1-A title match on Friday at 5 p.m., sending the North Carolina School of Science and Math Unicorns from Durham against the Eagles of East Montgomery.
East (22-1-1) and NCSSM (18-4-1) are both making their initial appearances in the state finals. East is led by Charlie Williams, who has scored 10 goals in the postseason, and Miguel Cruz.
Gabe Whaley is NCSSMís leading scorer with 26 goals on the year.
The 3-A championship is set for Friday night at 7:30 with unbeaten Lake Norman (28-0) seeking its second consecutive crown and 56th win in a row against Wilsonís Ralph L. Fike (21-4-1). Matt Foxx, the North Piedmont Conference Player of the Year, leads Lake Norman and has tallied 32 goals on the year. Fike has been extraordinary in the playoffs, knocking off four consecutive number-one seeds from their respective conferences.
Cardinal Gibbons makes its third straight trip to the finals and seeks to defend its 2-A crown as the Crusaders (23-2-2) take on the Red Devils of Newton-Conover (21-6) on Saturday at 5 p.m. Junior forwards Daniel Montero and Seph Babbington lead Gibbons, with Babbington the MVP of the state championship match last year.
Newton-Conover, in its first menís soccer final ever, has not lost to a 2-A team all year and is led by all-state performer Brian George, who has scored 22 goals.
The final match on Saturday will be for the 4-A championship, as top-ranked and defending champion Raleigh Broughton (27-0-1) collides with Greensboro Grimsley (20-3-1) at 7:30.
Broughton has ripped off 25 consecutive victories and Brandon Haynes has led the way for the Caps with 22 goals. Big 6-5 midfielder David Dupont tallied the only goal for Grimsley in its 1-0 victory over defending West 4-A champ North Mecklenburg in the regional final.
Tickets will be eight dollars at the gate. Wendyís and the Carolina Ford Dealers are the presenting sponsors of the NCHSAA sports program, and the Raleigh Sports Consortium serves as a host city sponsor along with the city of Raleigh and the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitorsí Bureau.
NORTH CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
2007 STATE MENíS SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS
Durham Bulls Soccer Stadium at WRAL Soccer Center, Raleigh
Friday, November 16
CLASS 1-A: North Carolina School of Science and Math (18-4-1) vs. East Montgomery (22-1-1), 5 p.m.
CLASS 3-A: Wilson Fike (21-4-1) vs. Lake Norman (28-0), 7:30 p.m.
Saturday. November 17
CLASS 2-A: Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons (23-2-2) vs. Newton-Conover (21-6), 5 p.m.
CLASS 4-A: Raleigh Broughton (27-0-1) vs. Greensboro Grimsley (20-3-1), 7:30 p.m.