Terry Sanford edges Cavs for tourney title
Terry Sanford defeated Southern Lee on the Bulldog home soccer pitch for the second time in a little more than a week Thursday night. Last week, it gave the Bulldogs the Cape Fear Valley Conference season championship. Thursday night, again by a 2-1 final, the Bulldogs (20-1-1) won the CFVC Tournament championship over the Cavaliers (18-2-2).
Terry Sanford senior Andrew Henrickson scored the two Terry Sanford goals four minutes apart, in the 53rd and 57th minutes, in the second half for a 2-0 Bulldog advantage.
The final on the scoreboard wasn't the toughest part of the night for the Cavaliers.
Late in the second half, junior center back/sweeper Sullivan Reece chased a ball headed out of bounds near a corner flag in the Cavalier end of the field. Reece ran onto, then had his leg horribly twisted, on an uncovered drain grate out of bounds. According to Southern Lee head coach Chris Palme, there was obvious swelling and Reece was in terrible pain. It took 20 minutes for a fire engine and emergency medical technicians to arrive at the stadium, then another 15 minutes for the medical personnel to secure and transport Reece from the field to the truck.
The Cavaliers tried for a tying goal through the last nine minutes. A 30-yard free kick taken by Alex Palme, but shot over the crossbar in the closing seconds, was the best Cavalier scoring chance late.
The squads, having drawn 2-2 at Cavalier Stadium earlier this year before meeting twice at Terry Sanford, played a frantic, firewagon-paced, yet scoreless first half. The Bulldogs began asserting more control of the match, keeping more of the action in the Cavalier half, in the early minutes of the second half.
"We played a great game," Palme said. "Against physical, tough teams though, they make you do things you don't normally do."
The Cavalier defending held with Reece and Kevin Aguirre manning the center of the defense, and back Matthew Wehrly drawing the assignment against dangerous, speedy Bulldog forward Charles Jones all over the field. Sophomore keeper Jeremy Hoover made saves on a few hard drives on goal, including a streak of fine saves after the two Bulldog goals to keep the Cavs within shouting distance.
Henrickson's goals came on similar plays. The Bulldogs sent long balls from the right side of midfield toward the far side of the Cavalier box and Henrickson was on the spot both times, with his runs and two finishes he made look easier than they were.
Between the goals, Alex Palme hit the post of the Bulldog goal with a odd-angled volley. Palme brought the Cavs within a goal in the 67th minute. Ethan Helsman launched a 50-yard free kick to the face of the Terry Sanford goal. Palme, jousting with a defender, deflected the ball by the keeper making it 2-1.
"This team never dies," said coach Palme. "All I'm trying to get through to these kids is that they never short-change themselves and they play to their potential on the field."
Terry Sanford has the No. 1 Cape Fear Valley seed going into the NCHSAA 3A State Tournament, which will start Wednesday.
The Cavaliers will be a No. 2 seed and host a first round match on Wednesday. Southern Lee reached the third round, the round of 16, in last year's state tournament.