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 their work on the pitch this fall, Millbrook's Austin Dietz (left) and Wakefield's Ryan Metts were both 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 ...
Millbrook senior Parker Eden (right) collides with a Durham Riverside defender during the Wildcats' first-round playoff match-up Wednesday. The Pirates pulled out a 4-2 win in a shootout.
Millbrook soccer falls
in PK shootout
Yes, the Wildcats' situation may have felt dire Wednesday — state playoff game, on the road at Durham Riverside, deadlocked at 1-1 and facing a shootout conclusion — but Millbrook soccer coach Matt Edwards said he felt confident, especially after keeper Spencer LaCivita thwarted the Pirates' first attempt.
Then Wildcat forward Austin Dietz buried his kick, giving Millbrook a 1-0 advantage in a match which seemed to have no end, lasting regulation and 30 minutes worth of overtime.
"It was a situation we felt good about because we have the best goalkeeper in the state, and we started out how we wanted," he shrugged, alluding to Dietz's goal. "But we just didn't finish."
Millbrook senior Connor Karr (left) jumps in front of Broughton's Kenan Ender to head a ball during Tuesday's Cap-7 Conference tournament semifinals match. The Capitals pulled out a 1-0 win, advancing to the tournament's championship game against Sanderson Thursday night.
Broughton bounces Millbrook from
According to Millbrook soccer coach Matt Edwards, Tuesday's 1-0 defeat to Broughton in the Cap-7 Conference tournament semifinals had a common — yet unfortunate — familiarity to it.
With just over 15 minutes remaining in regulation, and deadlocked at 0-0, the Wildcats were on the attack in Broughton's defensive third.
But the Capitals maintained to halt the Millbrook possession, and force the action upfield, racing past the Wildcats' retreating defenders.
Moments later Broughton's Lassiter Tollison slipped a kick past Millbrook keeper Spencer LaCivita for the would-be game-winner, lifting the Capitals to the tournament championship game. (Broughton will face Sanderson in the finals at Leesville Road Thursday at 6:30 p.m.)
Millbrook's Antonio Aldama (center) battles Wakefield's Zack Spence (15) for a possession during Monday's first-round Cap-7 Conference tournament game. The Wildcats pulled out a 1-0 win, advancing to play Broughton Tuesday (Oct. 27) at Leesville Road High School at 5 p.m.
Kennamer's second-half goal
lifts Millbrook to win
To hear Millbrook soccer coach Matt Edwards explain it, without last week's win over Enloe, his Wildcats likely wouldn't have defeated Wakefield 1-0 Monday night.
After dropping four of its previous five games, the Wildcats knocked off the Eagles 2-0 in the squad's regular-season finale Oct. 21.
Five days later, Millbrook carried that momentum into its meeting with the Wolverines in the first round of the Cap-7 Conference soccer tournament.
"Enloe was a good boost of confidence in that we played well against a good team," Edwards explained. "I think that was what we really needed after we dropped some games. "We couldn't have been good tonight if we weren't good against Enloe last week."
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."
Wakefield's Ryan Metts (left) and Millbrook's Matthew Smith fight to position themselves for the ball during Monday night's thriller, which the Wolverines won 5-4 in overtime.
Lying at the bottom of a celebratory pile-up following his game-winning overtime goal over Millbrook Monday night, Wakefield senior Ryan Metts had a clear view of the scoreboard.
His goal just put the Wolverines' soccer team ahead 5-4 — a lead they kept— but Metts was worried about the clock. There was still 1:59 remaining in the contest's final overtime session, and the match wasn't over just yet.
"I actually thought there is too much time left," he laughed following the game.
Just five days removed from a thrilling 1-1 tie with Sanderson — Wakefield tied the game with 12 seconds remaining in regulation — the Wolverines know all too well what can happen with time on the board.
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.
JP Rafferty (left), who scored one of Sanderson's goals in a
3-2 win over Millbrook Monday, races down field along side the Wildcats' Bradley Newman (right).
Ejlali, Spartans outlast Wildcats
Wild game ends with three goals in final eight minutes Monday
When Sanderson senior JP Rafferty hit the back of the net in the 73rd minute of Monday night's match-up with conference rival Millbrook, it felt like a game-winner.
The Spartans — who trailed most of the match — celebrated the score as such, mobbing each other in front of their bench. It was even capped by a Casey Francis and Rafferty celebratory routine, ending with two seniors sliding across the ground.
But the goal was just the kickoff of a torrid finish to Sanderson's 3-2 victory, which led both teams on a roller coaster of emotions.
Millbrook's Austin Dietz (center) battles Wakefield's Ryan Metts for a ball during the first half of Wednesday's Cap-7 Conference showdown. Dietz provided the contest's late-game heroics, scoring with less than eight minutes remaining, giving the Wildcats a 2-1 victory.
Dietz's goal lifts Wildcats over Wolverines
For whichever team lost Wednesday's match-up between Millbrook and Wakefield, it was going to be a crushing blow, dropping the respective squad to 0-2 in Cap-7 Conference play.
But the Wildcats' 2-1 victory — clinched on senior Austin Dietz's late goal — was even more deflating than expected for the Wolverines.
That's because early on it appeared Wakefield would be delivering the heartbreak, not receiving it.
Wildcats pull off comeback
Although Wakefield jumped out 1-0 less than a minute into the Sept. 9 match, the Millbrook boys soccer team pulled out a come-from-behind victory. For photos of the action, click on the picture above.
face quick turnaround
Two of the state's best soccer teams, Millbrook and Wakefield, square off Wednesday afternoon with more than bragging rights on the line.
After both squads dropped their respective Cap-7 Conference openers Tuesday — Millbrook falling to Broughton 2-0; Wakefield downed by Sanderson 3-1 — Wednesday's loser falls unceremoniously to 0-2 in league play.
It is a true testament to just how strenuous the league schedule is.
You really can't blame East Wake's defenders for getting physical with Millbrook junior Austin Dietz (white jersey) Wednesday. Dietz scorched the Warriors for three goals, and this was one of the few times they caught up to him.
Dietz's hat trick propels Wildcats
Could Millbrook junior Austin Dietz — who posted three goals in the Wildcats' 5-1 win over East Wake Wednesday night — just be getting warmed up?
As Millbrook head soccer coach Mark Edwards explained, it might be true.
"He was our leading scorer last year, so he's picking up right where he left off," the coach said. "And he is a player who is going to gain momentum throughout the season."
That's a scary thought for future Wildcat opponents, who should also take note that Millbrook had little trouble knocking off East Wake, a state playoff team a season ago.
Millbrook head soccer coach Matt Edwards called senior Connor Karr (pictured) the Wilcats' "most valuable offensive player" from last year's 19-5 squad.
From 'bottom dweller' to target
Millbrook soccer coach Matt Edwards knows the Wildcats will sneak up on no one this season.
After achieving mild success since 2002, Millbrook entered the 2008 season on no ones' radar. To some teams, a contest with the Wildcats was formality. That's not much of a surprise considering Millbrook won just three games the year before.
But having compiled a 19-5 record last year, while battling for Cap-7 supremacy and storming into the fourth round of the NCHSAA playoffs, the Wildcats' cover as an underdog is officially blown.