Warriors stuck with draw vs. Northern Guilford
October 18, 2012By Paul Thompson of Western Alamance High School
Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 00:46 AM.
ELON — Round one between Northern Guilford and Western Alamance was a draw.
Round two had larger implications in the big picture of the Mid-State 3-A Conference standings, but turned out similar as the teams battled to a 0-0 tie Wednesday night.
"Real back and forth game overall,” Northern Guilford coach Andrew Hultberg said. “They had moments where they were on us and we had moments where we were on them. Two great teams played and it was a great result for both.”
With one conference game each left to play, Northern Guilford (12-7-2 overall, 10-1-2 Mid-State 3-A Conference) holds a slim advantage in the standings on Western Alamance (13-1-3, 9-1-3). The Nighthawks control their own destiny. Northern Guilford’s final game comes Monday at Williams High School. A victory earns Northern Guilford the regular-season championship.
It was really a tale of two halves for Western Alamance. In the first half, the Warriors could only manage two shots while seemingly struggling with the Nighthawks pressure.
“The first half, we were a bit disorganized,” Western Alamance coach John Pardini said. “We tried to do things to counter them. They have very good players in the middle which is why they’re always near the top of the conference.”
As the second half started, the difference was night and day for the Warriors as they started to get more looks on goal and continually put pressure on Nighthawks senior goalkeeper James Paul throughout overtime.
“We changed our formation a little bit in the second half,” Pardini said. “Once we did that, we got a lot of chances. They just didn’t go in.”
The one thing that stayed consistent throughout was the officiating. Forty-one fouls were called, with 23 of them coming againstWestern Alamance. Each team was issued two yellow cards, with three of them coming within a 10-minute span midway through the second half.
“It’s a big game and a tough game to ref in,” Pardini said. “The fans are very into it on both sides, and the referees did the best they could and I thought they did OK.”
Hultberg said: “It’s tough to be a referee. They have a thankless job. Some of the fouls are maybe not fouls and some of the things not called maybe were. They didn’t change the outcome. They did their job.”
As the final regular-season home game for the Warriors, Western Alamance honored six seniors before the game.
“I give a lot of credit to our seniors,” Pardini said. “Most of our seniors didn’t play a lot of minutes for me last year. These boys have done a tremendous job. We had one freshman and five sophomores starting. Our seniors have done an excellent job in cultivating ourselves for the future and really welcomed the young guys.”
The teams tied 2-2 the first time they met.
“This keeps us just a little bit ahead of them,” Hultberg said. “We still have to win on Monday. They’re right on our door, they’re a great team, and we have to wrap it up on Monday. We’ve got a tough road.”
Pardini said the Warriors have bigger goals then just a conference championship.
“We lost one game this year,” Pardini said. “Losing one game in an entire season is something to be recognized and very proud of. A conference title looks wonderful and sounds great, but each (year) we want a state championship. Each team that has won the conference title from our conference has been knocked out recently. None of our teams have won state in a while, so that’s what we have our eyes set on.”