Saturday, October 31, 2009

No. 1 Latin loses in NCISAA soccer final

RALEIGH -- One year had passed, but the score of Saturday's N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 3A boys’ soccer state final that pitted Charlotte Latin against Greensboro Day was identical to the teams’ 2008 semifinal contest.

Coach Lee Horton, who led the Hawks to the 2008 title, did not hesitate to put his team’s 3-1 loss in perspective.

“"We hit the post twice in that first half and the ball came out," said Horton, whose team is No. 1 in The Sweet 16. "They hit the post and it went in,” Horton said. “It’s a game of inches. “We knew that more than likely, we would not shut that team out,” Horton continued. “But we felt like we would score several goals."”

The carom to which Horton referred was a 34th-minute shot by Will O'’Brien, whose header in the 28th minute sailed wide right. The header came within a tenuous three-minute stretch that included three yellow cards - the first of which set up a 20-yard free kick for the Bengals’ Eduardo Alvarez.

Sophomore Alvarez, too, connected with the right post, but his shot got behind Latin (20-2-1) goalkeeper Johnny Shea for the match’s first goal 13:24 before halftime.

Alvarez, who netted all three Greensboro Day (17-0-3) goals, also scored in the 63rd and 78th minutes on breakaways. His shots eluded the reach of Spencer Hurteau - substituted for the injured Shea in the 30th minute.

Hawks midfielder Will McGinnis converted a penalty kick set up by a box foul for Latin’s lone goal with 8:08 remaining.

“"We switched to a 4-5-1 formation and sat two in the middle in front of our back four just to kind of withstand their attack,"” Bengals coach Taylor Johnson said. “"It worked for us, luckily.
“We could have easily been down three or four goals.”"

-- Alex Bass, Special Correpondent