Varsity Soccer Wins First Round State Playoff Game 3-1 Over W Brunswick
October 31, 2013By Paul Thompson of Western Alamance High School
Courtesy of the Burlington Times-News
Published: Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 01:38 AM.
ELON — For a first-round playoff game, the Western Alamance boys’ soccer team faced something it hadn’t seen for a while.
The Warriors trailed.
But after surrendering a first-half goal, Western Alamance re-gathered and responded with three goals in the second half to win 3-1 against visiting West Brunswick on Wednesday night in the first round of the Class 3-A state playoffs.
“When we got scored on, we had no idea what was going to happen,” Western Alamance’s Paschal Geoffrey said. “But we finally got into our game, the way that we play, the way that Coach (John Pardini) has taught us how to play.”
Western Alamance (19-2-1) advances to a second-round matchup against visiting West Carteret on Saturday.
Camden Brooks started the second-half rally when he nudged a pass from Geoffrey past goalkeeper Conner Johnston in the 47th minute. It came off a centering pass, which is the main emphasis of the Warriors’ offense.
“It’s what coach stresses a lot,” Brooks said. “He wants us to get the ball out wide and send it in and that’s where we’re strongest in the middle, finishing in the middle off volleys and all that stuff.”
That was also the intent a few minutes later when Geoffrey took a ball right of the goal and in the box and attempted a crossing pass. The pass was never completed, as a hand ball gave Western Alamance a penalty kick.
Geoffrey stepped up and delivered what was eventually the game-winning goal in the 51st minute, using a few chopped up steps to freeze Johnston, who got a piece of the ball put was unable to fully make the save.
“I saw it on (video game) FIFA (14). … I saw Cristiano Ronaldo do it,” Geoffrey said. “It wasn’t really a stutter-step because I didn’t stop my momentum, but I just didn’t want the goalie to know what direction it was going. They thought I stopped. I just acted like I was about to stop, but I didn’t really stop.”
Western Alamance weathered a couple dicey scoring situations across the next 17 minutes, but its defense never broke down.
The most tense moment came in the 57th minute, when Western Alamance goalkeeper Tyler Billings batted away a free kick amid a crowded goal box. West Brunswick (8-10-2) managed a pair of shots — the first was deflected by Western Alamance’s Will Thomas and Billings made a diving save on the second shot.
Sam Stafford provided a cushion when he scored in the 68th minute, taking a centering pass from Robert Burns and heading it into the net.
“They played really compact down the middle and in the first half we were trying to ping it down the middle, down the middle and they’re just taking it away,” Pardini said. “We just needed to relax a little bit and play soccer and pass it around.”
West Brunswick’s Cody Postich scored 26:21 into the game, after Western Alamance had controlled the tempo of the game. Postich struck from about 35 yards away into the top right corner over the stretch and jump of Billings.
“You’re going to give up goals in this game. I think a lot of our players hit the panic button right away and it’s like, ‘OK, hold on, take it easy,’ ” Pardini said. “We haven’t given up a goal in about four or five games, going down was a little bit different to us.”
By the end, there was a familiar feeling for the Warriors.
“It really hit (at halftime), being a senior and all, I didn’t want my season to end,” Brooks said.