Wakefield senior Ryan Metts (10) was one of five area soccer players named to the North Carolina Soccer Coaches Association's All-State team.
Five area soccer players named
to All-State team
Wakefield senior Ryan Metts
earns All-South honors
In a conference as deep and talented as the Cap-7 was in soccer this past fall, it's only fitting the league has cleaned up with postseason awards.
Five area players — Leesville Road's Bo Burns, Millbrook's Spencer LaCivita, Wakefield's Ryan Metts and Sanderson's Glenn Scott and JP Rafferty — were all named to the North Carolina Soccer Coaches Association's All-State team last month.
For Burns and Scott, this is their first year honored. But the process has become seemingly routine for Metts and LaCivita, who are repeat selections, and Rafferty, who has been recognized during each of the past three seasons. (LaCivita, the lone junior, has a chance to make it a three-peat next year.)
For his work on the pitch this fall, Leesville Road sophomore Fernando Castellanos was named to the Cap-7 Conference All-Conference team.
All-Conference soccer selections
The Cap-7 Conference, arguably North Carolina's most competitive soccer league this fall, recently released its All-Conference selections.
Broughton — which won the conference's regular-season and tournament titles — led the league with seven All-Conference honorees, while Leesville Road and Sanderson tied for the second-most selections with six apiece.
Without further ado, the Cap-7 Conference All-Conference team ...
Daniel Samper was one of 11 seniors to play in his final game during Leesville Road's 3-2 loss to Fuquay-Varina in the first round of the state playoffs Tuesday.
Pride fall in
first round to Fuquay-Varina
Ten weeks stood between the Leesville Road soccer team's first meeting with Fuquay-Varina — a 3-1 loss Aug. 20 — and the squads' match-up in the first round of the 4-A state playoffs Tuesday night.
And while the result, a 3-2 loss, might have been similar, Leesville coach Chip Stone argued the competition was anything but.
"Except for the 10 minute when we scored, they really outplayed us the first time," he said. "But this game was a totally different story."
Sanderson's Taylor Wyatt (left) holds off Leesville Road's Ian Ramsey during the second half of Tuesday's Cap-7 Conference tournament semifinals match. The Spartans won the contest 2-1.
Sanderson soccer shoots down Pride
Spartans advance to face Broughton
in championship game Thursday
Tied 1-1 with Leesville Road in the second half of Tuesday's Cap-7 Conference tournament semifinals match, Sanderson's Glenn Scott broke down downfield with teammates J.P. Rafferty flanked to his right and Casey Francis to his left.
With the Pride's three defenders in retreat mode, Scott hit Rafferty in stride, and the senior one-timed the ball perfectly to a streaking Francis, who added soft deflection for the would-be game-winner.
From the moment Scott cross midfield, the play appeared to have goal written all over it, and the trio didn't disappoint.
Sanderson head coach Todd Worley explained the Spartans couldn't have drawn it up better.
"It was a really nice breakaway and they all did all the right things," he said. "Casey made a nice touch on the ball."
Alex de Groot (9) and the Wakefield soccer team battles Austin Dietz (left), Alex Oloffson (21) and the Millbrook soccer team in the first round of the Cap-7 Conference soccer tournament Monday night. The Wildcats host the match-up, set to begin at 6:30 p.m.
Cap-7 Conference soccer tournament schedule set
With the conclusion of the Cap-7 Conference boys soccer regular-season schedule Wednesday night, area teams begin preparing for their respective first-round match-ups in the league's tournament, which kicks off Monday, Oct. 26.
Fourth-seeded Millbrook (6-6) hosts fifth-seeded Wakefield (5-6-1), while second-seeded Leesville Road (7-4-1) hosts No. 7 Wake Forest-Rolesville (0-12). The Pride defeated the Cougars 7-0 Wednesday in the squads' respective finales.
Leesville Road's Ryan Fleming (left) and Millbrook's Bradley Newman battle for possession late in the Pride's 2-0 victory Tuesday. Fleming scored a first-half goal in the win.
Fleming, Burns lead Leesville over Millbrook
Following the Leesville Road soccer team's 2-0 victory over Millbrook Tuesday night — the squad's fourth win in its last six contests — Pride senior Chris Hawthorne pinpointed how the Pride turned its season around.
After a tumultuous 1-4 start to the year, Hawthorne explained Leesville found a sense of urgency.
"We have been working harder on and off the field, in practice and in the games, and we've talked about people being more desperate on both sides of the field," he said. "Both in the attacking third and the defensive third, we needed to play harder. And that's been the difference."
Head coach Chip Stone explained more simply, saying "We were playing idiotic."
And now? "Our guys have bought into what we want to do, and they have played very well," he said. "At first, we weren't seeing the results for our effort. But now we have beaten some pretty good teams recently."
Leesville Road's Bo Burns (9) looks to attack Sanderson's John Perfetti (4) during Monday's soccer match. Burns didn't score on this play, but he tallied two goals during the Pride's 4-3 win.
Monday night Sanderson senior Glenn Scott notched three goals — his 23rd, 24th and 25th scores of the season — but with less than 10 minutes remaining against Leesville Road, it was Pride senior Ryan Fleming who delivered the game-winner.
Tied at 3-3, the Pride's Chris Hawthorne sent a kick toward the front of the Spartan net and, after the ball was deflected, Fernando Castellanos popped it up for Fleming to finish off, clinching a 4-3 victory.
"I was just standing at the top of the 18, Fernando flipped it up and I just saw the volley, and thought, 'This is mine', and I hit it in," Fleming recalled after the game.
Wakefield's Kevin Kotecki (11) slips past Leesville Road's Chris Hawthorne (7) during Wednesday's Cap-7 Conference soccer match. The Wolverines pulled out a 2-0 win over the Pride.
Judge, Cervantez fuel Wakefield win
With less than 10 minutes remaining in the first half of Wednesday's soccer game at Leesville Road — two minutes after senior Jay Williams crumbled to the ground with a leg injury — Wakefield assistant coach Derek Williams was thinking defensively.
And the strategy definitely had merit.
While Wolverine Ryan Metts stood over a free kick, Williams instructed Vince Cervantez to fall back, and protect a Pride counteract. With Williams sidelined, Leesville might be able to take advantage of Wakefield's lineup change.
But as Metts' kick sailed towards goal, there was Cervantez leaping into the air, challenging Leesville keeper Davis Griffin. The Wakefield senior headed the ball off the crossbar, which fortuitously dropped down to teammate Greg Judge for the point-blank goal and a 1-0 Wolverine lead.
Leesville Road senior Bo Burns (left, No. 9) and Wakefield senior Street Johnson (right) have their respective squads surging following impressive matches earlier this week.
Pride, Wolverines face off on pitch Wednesday
Although Wednesday night's Sanderson and Millbrook soccer team's match will receive plenty of attention — and justifiably so — it could be argued Leesville Road's home match against Wakefield today features the most intriguing match-up.
Both the Pride and Wolverines have endured humbling stretches this year — Leesville lost five of its first six overall games; Wakefield faltered in five of its first conference matches. But entering tonight's contest, they are both riding notably turnarounds.
The Pride is unbeaten in its last three Cap-7 Conference challenges, including an impressive 1-1 tie with first-place Broughton Monday.
Likewise, the Wolverines jumpstarted its second half of league play with a tie against Sanderson last week, and a thrilling 5-4 victory over Millbrook two days ago.
Leesville Road senior Wes Atkinson tries to deflect the ball upfield during Monday night's 2-0 loss to Millbrook. It was the Wildcats' second-straight shutout.
Millbrook shuts out Pride Monday
Following his team's 2-0 loss to Millbrook Monday night, Leesville Road head coach Chip Stone explained how the Wildcats managed to keep his team off the scoreboard.
They denied space to the Pride's playmakers, he reasoned, and that's what good teams do.
"We can play when we are given space," Stone continued. "But when you go against the very top teams, they deny space and great players then become good players and good players come average players."
Add in the fact the Pride missed eight 'point-blankers,' Stone explained, and you have a formula for a shutout.
Wildcats pounce on Pride
The Millbrook boys soccer team defeated Leesville Road 2-0 Sept. 21, recording its second consecutive victory. For photos of the action, click on the photograph above.
Leesville Road's Chris Hawthorne (right) angles for position on Sanderson's Nick Cioffi during Wednesday night's match. The Spartans pulled out a 4-2 win, improving to 10-0-1 this season.
Spartans' strong second half halts Leesville Road
Following Wednesday night's 4-2 victory over Leesville Road, Sanderson soccer coach Todd Worley admitted his squad was drained before the match even began.
Just two days after a dramatic late-game win over Millbrook, the Spartans were spent on all levels.
"We knew the Millbrook game took a lot out of us — emotionally, physically, mentally," the coach said. "When you don't have all three of those, you're going to struggle."
Leesville Road seniors Ryan Fleming (pictured) and Bo Burns have displayed excellent leadership this season, according to head coach Chip Stone. The 3-5 Pride face Sanderson tonight (Sept. 16).
Pride record 'best game' in four years, says coach
What's Leesville's reward?
Facing unbeaten SHS Wednesday
In his four years of coaching the Leesville Road boys soccer program, Chip Stone said he'd never seen a better performance than the Pride's 5-1 victory over Wakefield Sept. 14.
"We've had some good teams, and we've played some great games — two years ago, we were the equal to anybody — but that was the best game we played," the coach said during practice a day later.
The Pride kicked off the Cap-7 Conference clash in remarkable fashion as forwards Bo Burns and Kyle Davis each scored a goal in the contest's opening three minutes. Burns later added two more goals, and Davis tacked on another leading to the lopsided victory.
Leesville Road senior Bo Burns (9) scored a first-half goal against Panther Creek, but the Catamounts netted a late score, sealing a 2-1 victory Wednesday night.
Catamounts top Pride
As teammates and fans made way for the exits Wednesday night — moments after the Leesville Road's 2-1 loss to Panther Creek — Pride senior Chris Hawthorne, seated at midfield, flipped his cleats one at a time toward the home team's bench.
He later gathered himself, made it to the cooler, and wrapped his leg in ice.
Then — with a slight hitch in his stride — Hawthorne followed the crowd toward the parking lot, too.
You don't need to know what happened in the game to understand the scene — if any team needed an extended break, it's probably the Pride.
Catamounts conquer Pride
The Leesville Road boys soccer team dropped it's Aug. 26 match against Panther Creek 2-1. For photographs of the match, click on the picture above.
Leesville Road junior Ian Ramsey (12) collides with a Fuquay-Varina defender while trying to make a header during Thursday's 3-1 loss. The Pride face Cape Fear at The Brittany this weekend
Pride soccer falls
Twenty-one seconds after Leesville Road forward Kyle Davis' goal gave the Pride soccer team new life Thursday night, Fuquay-Varina extinguished that hope with a score of its own.
It was one of the quickest swings of momentum you might see in a soccer match.
And it helped Fuquay-Varina sealed a 3-1 victory.
Ready to return
to winning ways
The Leesville Road boys soccer program fell on hard times in 2008, winning just six games. But the Pride plan to battle back to prominence this fall.
Seniors Bo Burns and Davis Griffin recently spoke about their disappointing 2008, the Pride's renewed commitment and predicting the Cap-7 Conference.
Click here to read what they had to say.
Leesville Road seniors Chris Hawthorne (left) and Kyle Davis look to get the Pride boys soccer team back on track following the 2008 season, which was derailed by injuries.
Pride seeks redemption
Credit the members of the Leesville Road boys soccer team: they aren't ones for making excuses.
During an interview with seniors Bo Burns and Davis Griffin last week — before the Pride's final day of tryouts — the duo regularly acknowledged their disappointment with last year's six-win season.
Just a few years removed from a state title, the Pride had fallen on hard times, but Burns and Davis didn't point fingers. Or deflect the blame. They accepted it. And then they focused on the future.