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It won’t take long for Eric Nguyen, the new Greenfield School soccer coach, to face his old team — and his replacement — as the Knights will play Hunt High in the first day of the seventh annual Rotary Cup intracounty tournament on Tuesday, Aug. 14, at Gillette Soccer Complex. The game will also mark the Hunt head coaching debut of Phil Long, the first All-America player in Warriors history.
The Knights-Warriors matchup will be the highlight of the first day of the three-round event pitting Wilson’s public schools versus its private institutions. Defending Rotary Cup champion Fike kicks off the action Aug. 14 against Wilson Christian at 6 p.m. on Field No. 2, followed by Hunt-Greenfield at 7 on Field No. 3. Beddingfield and Community Christian will tangle at 8 p.m. on Field No. 2.
The two new turf fields at Gillette will be utilized and the game times have been set so that a portion of the matches will be going on simultaneously.
The tournament continues Thursday, Aug. 16, and Saturday, Aug. 18, with the following matchups:
• Greenfield vs. Beddingfield, 6 p.m., No. 2
• CCS vs. Fike, 7 p.m., No. 3
• Wilson Christian vs. Hunt, 8 p.m., No. 2
• Hunt vs. CCS, 6 p.m., No. 2
• Beddingfield vs. Wilson Christian, 7 p.m., No. 3
• Fike vs. Greenfield, 8 p.m., No. 2
Nguyen, a former Hunt standout himself, left the Warriors after three seasons as head coach to become girls and boys head coach at Greenfield, succeeding Randol Mendoza.
Long was the North Carolina Soccer Coaches Association Player of the Year and a McDonald’s All-American as a senior at Hunt in 2001. He went on to play at the University of Virginia and professionally with the Carolina RailHawks (now North Carolina FC) then in the North American Soccer League.
The Warriors won the Rotary Cup outright each of Nguyen’s first two years at the helm before ceding the title to Fike in 2017. The Golden Demons of head coach Chris Mizelle shared the crown in 2014 after winning it in 2013 in Connor Bedgood’s only season as head coach.
Greenfield was the winner of the inaugural Rotary Cup in 2012.
The 36th annual Greenfield Cup, or Dr. Robert T. Stone Memorial Showcase, will be the first matches the Knights will have under Nguyen. Greenfield will play former 1-A Coastal Plain Independents Conference foe Freedom Christian of Fayetteville on Thursday, Aug. 9, at 7 p.m.
Thales Academy, a charter school in Rolesville, is Greenfield’s opponent Friday, Aug. 10, also at 7 p.m. while the Knights finish the three-day, round-robin event against Cary Christian on Saturday, Aug. 11, with the starting time yet to be announced.
Speaking of the CPIC, the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association conference will have a new look once again this season. Gone is Christ Covenant of Winterville, joining the 1-A/2-A Carolina Independents Conference of which Community Christian School is a member, while Friendship Christian of Raleigh will take its place. Friendship was in the North Carolina Christian School Association’s 2-A East Region with Wilson Christian.
While there are still five teams in the CPIC, three — Wayne Country Day, Wayne Christian and Friendship — will be 2-A and only Greenfield and Pope John Paul II of Greenville remain at the 1-A level. There are only 26 1-A programs remaining in the NCISAA ranks.
WILSON CUP UPCOMING
Fike High will go for its fourth straight Wilson Cup title in the sixth incarnation of the girls tennis tournament, which starts Monday, Aug. 13, at Barton College Tennis Complex.
The 3-A Big East Conference Lady Demons will face Corinth Holders of the 4-A Northern Conference at 1 p.m. with Rocky Mount Faith Christian taking on Tarboro at the same time. At 4 p.m., Hunt and Greene Central will square off while C.B. Aycock matches up with Greenfield.
The losers bracket semifinals start at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15, followed by the winners bracket semis at 4 p.m. Championship Saturday (Aug. 18) has all four matches starting at 9 a.m.
BACK ON THE COURT
For the first time in more than a decade, Community Christian will field a girls tennis team. Athletic director Bryan Walker confirmed the Lady Cyclones will be back in action this fall.
While the schedule has yet to be posted on the school’s athletic website, the Lady Cyclones were to have held their first tryout Monday.