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A red card in the 11th minute set a chippy tone and a disputed ruling with slightly over 10 minutes remaining kept emotions rankled in the host Fike High varsity boys soccer team’s 4-2 nonconference victory against Charles B. Aycock on Wednesday evening.
Neither call favored the 3-A Golden Falcons of the 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference in suffering their first loss against three wins and a tie. CBA competed a player down for nearly the final 70 minutes with senior goalkeeper Skyler Landers removed from the match.
Then, the late ruling denied CBA an excellent opportunity at a tying goal. Golden Demons senior Myles Cyrus sealed the outcome in the final minute with a breakaway goal.
Fike of the 3-A Big East Conference notched its third victory without a loss and senior defender Clayton Snyder was not only satisfied with the outcome but definitely pleased that the Demons got payback for last year’s 7-1 defeat.
“We did enough to win,”assessed Fike head coach Chris Mizelle, “but, for 10 players, they gave us a game.”
CBA head coach Cory Worrell admitted the outcome was hard to swallow.
“Most certainly,” he remarked, “but you deal with it and go forward. The boys fought to the very end. I was proud of them.”
Starting CBA keeper Landers was red-carded for fouling the final opposing player and denying him a scoring opportunity just outside the 18-yard box. On the play, Fike sophomore Gavin Wheeler was sidelined with a jaw injury.
The Demons were awarded a free kick — which junior Kevin Mendoza converted for a 1-0 lead in the rain that fell during two brief intervals in the first half.
The Falcons salvaged a 1-1 halftime tie with just over 10 minutes showing. Sophomore Zack Naughton cranked a shot from some 40 yards out. The soccer ball took a huge hop; Fike senior goalkeeper Tanner Sullivan took a step and realized the ball was going to sail well over his head. It wound up in the goal.
The Demons, at the outset of the second half, seemed more aware they were attacking with one more player than CBA.
With less than three minutes elapsed, Cyrus worked an accurate shot past backup junior CBA keeper Ty Smith. Less than three minutes later, Mendoza knocked in his second goal.
CBA’s Worrell credited the Demons, but Mizelle noted: “I don’t think we found the advantage we should have. It was a situation where we were not as aggressive as we needed to be. But, again, it’s only the third match and we haven’t worked playing against a team a player down.”
Added Snyder: “We should have done a better job but, this being just our third game, we did pretty well. You don’t want to mess it up; you have to grind it out and make sure you do what we practice.”
The Falcons continued to pressure Sullivan and his back line of Snyder, junior Mason Lee, freshman Oc Bolt, sophomore John Conoley and junior Jonathan Boykin.
With slightly over 30 minutes still remaining, Naughton drilled in his second goal.
Then, the call with just over 10 minutes showing cost CBA a one-on-one opportunity on a breakaway. Fike was whistled for a foul on the play, but Worrell contended the advantage should have been awarded to his Falcons. Mizelle acknowledged the official who thought he detected offsides should not have blown his whistle.
“That was a tough break for them,” Mizelle acknowledged, “but that’s how it goes sometimes.”
CBA did not threaten on the free-kick opportunity nor on a pair of corner kicks the closing minutes.
Fike added an insurance goal with less than 40 seconds remaining. Senior Israel Villalobos flicked the ball through the middle; Cyrus ran onto it near midfield and easily won his one-on-one test against the keeper.
“We had a chip on our back because of how bad they beat us last year,” Snyder explained. “We grinded it out and got the job done.”