In what had become a season-long theme, the Cuthbertson High School boys soccer team made the most of its opportunities to claim the program’s first Class 2A state championship at Raleigh’s N.C. State University on Saturday, Nov. 16.
Despite being outshot in the game, 20-8, the Cavs scored on four of their five total attempts on goal to claim the 4-1 win over Carrboro.
For Cuthbertson coach Nelson Garner, it was a typical performance for a team that hadn’t lost since Sept. 19, when it succumbed in a 2-0 decision to Central Academy of Technology & Arts. The Cavs went 16-0-1 after that defeat despite having only three All-Rocky River 1A/2A conference selections on the roster in defenders Bailey Thompson and Ethan Good and center midfielder Jason Drain.
“I think that tells a lot about what our team makeup was,” Garner said. “It was not about any stars; it was about a bunch of players who knew their roles, played their roles well and put the team first.
“Different players stepped up at different times.”
The Cavs took a 1-0 lead in the championship when, just five minutes into the game, Travis
Whitt found Michael Proctor for a goal.
Carrboro tied the game in the second half at one goal apiece before Thomas Vigdor, assisted by Drain, found the net for a 2-1 lead with 15 minutes left in the game. Evan Martinez found Obi Collins for another goal 10 minutes later before Vigdor and Drain rounded out the scoring with the Cavs’ fourth goal with roughly three minutes remaining in the game.
“When we put the fourth goal in with two minutes left, that’s when I started to feel (we had the title),” Garner said.
Defensively, Cavs goalkeeper Jack Sosinski tallied six saves, while Thompson, who also netted a pair of goals in the Cavs’ semifinal win, stopped a crucial first-half Carrboro opportunity.
The Cavs roster also included senior captain Riley Sloop, David Page, Jake Canup, Corbin Mallette, David Moll, Matthew LaFrance, Thomas Black, Josh Holler, Seth Brown, Parker Freitag, Jake Souther and Kobi Sonsire.
Jeff Pacciolla, Jack Burch and Garrett Vaughn were assistant coaches, while Amanda Shuttlesworth and Annie Newman were the team managers.
The Cavs boys program entered the 2012-13 campaign having to replace six starters from last year’s team that finished with an 18-5-2 record and advanced to the third round of the playoffs for the second consecutive season. Despite having a senior-laden team this season, many of the upperclassmen spent last year on the JV squad, which made this year’s accomplishment even more special, said Garner.
“That’s a testimony to these guys having a high character and putting each other first,” said Garner, whose team finished the season with a 23-3-2 record.
“Like I told (the players), sometimes you do all these things and it still doesn’t work out for you,” Garner continued. “This was just one of those magical seasons where it did all come together. Hopefully they’ll take that with them for the rest of their lives.”