2022 4A Men’s Soccer Championship Recap | Gibbons holds off Weddington 1-0 to win second title in three years
BROWNS SUMMIT, NC – Cardinal Gibbons managed to hold off a tough challenge from Weddington to win the 4A State Championship 1-0. Joseph Abdenour tallied the lone goal of the game and dominated the midfield throughout the contest on his way to being selected as the 4A Men’s Soccer Most Valuable Player.
Gibbons struck in the 59th minute of the game, breaking a scoreless draw, as a Carlos Lomena shot from just outside the box was deflected across the front of the net to the edge of the penalty area where Abdenour collected it and rifled the ball off the crossbar and just beyond the goal line to make it 1-0.
Weddington had their best opportunity of the game in the 79th minute off of a corner kick that was sent in by Tucker Kern high to the back post from the corner. Jake Wittig got his head to the ball sending a nearly perfect header onto the crossbar and straight down into the fray in the six-yard box, right behind Crusader goalkeeper Paddy Eagan. Flailing on the ground, Eagan managed to secure the loose ball before one of three Warriors could pounce on it and stuff it into the back of the net to tie the game.
Gibbons certainly had the run of play for the majority of the night. The Crusaders outshot Weddington 22-8 in the game, putting eight of those shots on frame. Weddington only managed three shots on frame, which Eagan saved all three, but their most dangerous chance, Wittig’s header in the 79th minute, does not count as a shot on goal since it hit the crossbar and went out.
Weddington finished the season 21-3-1. The Warriors were the champions of the Southern Carolina 4A and appeared in the program’s first 4A State Championship. The Warriors won the Men’s Soccer team’s third Western Regional Championship and appeared in the State Championship Match for the first time since winning the 2020-21 COVID-shortened season.
Cardinal Gibbons wrapped the year 17-5-3, the Crusaders were 6-2-2 in Cap Six 4A play. The Crusaders won the program’s eighth Men’s Soccer State Championship and 10th Regional Championship, dating back to their first State Championship Appearance in the 2A Championship Match in 2005.
The NCHSAA is committed to promoting good sportsmanship and has partnered with the NC Farm Bureau to recognize two athletes from each State Championship event with NC Farm Bureau Sportsmanship Awards. The Sportsmanship Award winners for the 2022 4A Men’s Soccer State Championship Match were Owen Diamond from Cardinal Gibbons and Jake Wittig from Weddington.
2022 3A Men’s Soccer Championship Recap | Hickory edges Jacksonville 2-1 for first title since 2000
BROWNS SUMMIT, NC – A scoreless first half gave way to a fiery second half that saw the Hickory Red Tornadoes claim a 2-1 victory over Jacksonville and the 3A Men’s Soccer State Championship. Freshman center back Braeden McCourt cleared a would-be Jacksonville go-ahead goal off the Tornado line before netting a go-ahead goal of his own on the way to winning the 3A Championship’s Most Valuable Player Award.
McCourt’s first heroics came with the score knotted at zero when Jacksonville forward, Jack Leary came screaming through the Tornado defense and worked his way around Hickory goalkeeper Conner Mejia. Leary flicked a ball towards an open net, but McCourt managed to clear it just before it crossed the line, knocking it out for a corner kick in the 50th minute. Just eight minutes later, Hickory had a free kick opportunity that pinballed in the box and fell to McCourt just to the left of the Cardinals’ goal. McCourt made no mistake pounding it home to lift Hickory to the 1-0 lead.
Just three minutes later, Hickory added another goal, what turned out to be the game-winner, off a free kick at the left edge of the penalty area. Josue Leal curled a right-footed boot around the Cardinal wall, two-hopping the right side netting to put the Tornadoes in front 2-0 with 20 minutes to play.
Jacksonville certainly did not back down after giving up the goal. The Cardinals drew within a goal as Tyler Gregory poked a loose ball in the box home off a deflection in the six-yard box. The goal in the 74th minute gave Jacksonville extra life, and the Cardinals poured on the pressure. Earning a free kick at the edge of the penalty area from straightaway. Leary curled a shot off the right post, which deflected off Mathias Navar and had to be saved by Mejia to maintain a 2-1 lead.
Jacksonville finished the season 18-8-2. The Cardinals were the Champions of the Big Carolina 3A/4A with a record of 10-1 in conference play. The Cardinals won the program’s sixth Eastern Regional Championship, appearing in the State Championship for the first time since 2013.
Hickory wrapped up the year 22-2-3, champions of the Western Foothills 3A with a record of 12-1-1 in league play. Hickory won the program’s second state championship, their first since 2000, appearing in the State Championship for the sixth time in program history and second straight year.
The NCHSAA is committed to promoting good sportsmanship and has partnered with the NC Farm Bureau to recognize two athletes from each State Championship event with NC Farm Bureau Sportsmanship Awards. The Sportsmanship Award winners for the 2022 3A Men’s Soccer State Championship Match were Jack Leary from Jacksonville and Alex Annas from Hickory.
2022 1A Men’s Soccer Championship Recap | Christ the King rolls by Rosewood 6-0 for second straight title
BROWNS SUMMIT, NC – Christ the King pushed past Rosewood 6-0 to win the 2022 1A Men’s Soccer State Championship, claiming their second consecutive title. Drew Hansen netted two goals and had an assist on his way to being named the Most Valuable Player for the Championship.
Rosewood put up a galliant fight, particularly in the first few minutes. The Crusaders broke through early though, seven minutes in Marcos Frias found himself with some space on the right flank, sliding a ball through the edge of the box to the middle of the field finding Drew Hansen. Hansen made no mistake with a strong finish low into the left side of the net.
Seven minutes later in the 14th minute, Olivier Harrison was the man on the spot as Eagles goalkeeper Mick Smith made two spectacular point-blank saves, but the rebound off the second opportunity fell to Harrison. Harrison blasted it home from 12 yards out to put the Crusaders in the lead 2-0. Hansen added his second on a penalty shot just two minutes later and Christ the King carried a 3-0 lead into half.
In the second half the Eagles started out on the front foot, firing a few good opportunities towards net, but Crusaders keeper William Santschi was up to the task. The Crusaders ended any doubt when Nik Seguin collected a loose ball and deposited it in the bottom right corner of the net for a 4-0 lead. Seguin got an assist on the fifth Crusader goal, when Frias finished a give-and-go off his powerful right foot.
Christian Defenbaugh finished the scoring, poking a floating ball with his right foot off of the free kick by Hansen in the 57th minute. Defenbaugh stuck his foot out just in front of his defender, who had him well marked, but Defenbaugh’s one-timer bested good marking to make it 6-0.
Rosewood finished the season 23-3-0. The Eagles were 11-1 as the champions of the Carolina 1A. The Eagles won the Eastern Regional Final for the first time in program history, collecting their first State Championship appearance.
Christ the King wrapped up the year 20-3-5 winning the Catawba Shores Athletic 1A/2A with a record of 10-1-1. The Crusaders won the program’s third Western Regional Championship and second-straight State Championship.
The NCHSAA is committed to promoting good sportsmanship and has partnered with the NC Farm Bureau to recognize two athletes from each State Championship event with NC Farm Bureau Sportsmanship Awards. The Sportsmanship Award winners for the 2022 1A Men’s Soccer State Championship Match were Olivier Harrison from Christ the King and Jesus Salas Ramirez from Rosewood.
2022 2A Men’s Soccer Championship Recap | Owen stuns Clinton with late equalizer to earn first title with PK victory
BROWNS SUMMIT, NC – The Owen Warhorses collected the program’s first state championship in thrilling fashion, knocking off Clinton 4-3 in penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw through 120 minutes of play. Davis Kendall equalized for the Warhorses in the 77th minute on his way to earning the 2A Most Valuable Player honors in the match.
Owen held the possession for most of the match, but it was Clinton that struck first in the 33rd minute. Daniel Adasiak drew the first goal on a ball that slipped all the way through box from the right side. Adasiak collected the ball with his left foot, moved a few dribbles to his right and curled a beautiful ball into the upper right corner to give the Dark Horses a 1-0 lead.
Just when it seemed that Clinton’s strategy to hold one of the state’s leading goal scorers this year in check, Nino Luther slipped a pretty pass to Kendall, and he flicked it with his right foot just beyond the outstretched arms of the Clinton keeper and into the back of the net to tie the match in the 77th minute.
Both teams managed chances during the overtime periods, but neither was able to pull ahead sending the match to decisive penalty kicks. The Dark Horses missed the first kick of the shootout as Walker Spell sent his attempt high and wide left. Each ensuing player scored until Owen’s fourth attempt by Dominic Sanchez-Merida was stopped by Marcos Medina. Clinton’s Jorge Llamas missed the final Clinton attempt, leaving the match at the feet of Owen’s Harrison Kendall. Kendall stepped up and slotted a right-footed shot just left of the diving Medina to lift the Warhorses to the 2A State Championship.
Clinton wrapped up the season 22-3-3. The Dark Horses were a perfect 10-0 in the Southeastern 2A, winning the league championship. Clinton won the Eastern Regional Championship for the second time in program history and first time since 2018.
Owen concluded their championship run with a record of 22-2-1. The Warhorses won the Western Highlands 1A/2A with a perfect record of 10-0. The Warhorses won the Western Regional title for the first time in program history, hoisting the State Championship trophy for the first time as well.
The NCHSAA is committed to promoting good sportsmanship and has partnered with the NC Farm Bureau to recognize two athletes from each State Championship event with NC Farm Bureau Sportsmanship Awards. The Sportsmanship Award winners for the 2022 2A Men’s Soccer State Championship Match were Kevin Hall from Clinton and Abraham McTeague-Pospishil from Owen.