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The host Community Christian School boys soccer team found itself surprised at the outset by Wilson Preparatory Academy’s quickness and athleticism.
However, with just 11 players available, the Cyclones scrarmbled to a 2-0 halftime lead and then took command the second half en route to a 7-1 victory in its first meeting against its crosstown foe.
CCS, which plays in the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A Coastal Independent Conference, boosted its record to 5-6-1 and plays at home at 6 p.m. Thursday against St. Thomas Moore of Raleigh.
The Tigers, without a senior class, fielding a team for just the second year and members of the Carolina Athletic Association for Schools of Choice (CAASC), fell to 1-3 after squandering several first-half threats that kept the CCS defensive unit of sophomore Salvador Guzman, senior Griffin Dunlap, sophomore Dylan Phillips and eighth-grader Jacob Sloan along with seventh-grade goalkeeper Seth Huston busy.
“They were way better than we thought they would be,” said Guzman of the Tigers. “But we knew how they go toward and pass the ball.
Added head coach Monica Mills: “We did better the second half. We held back the first half and they stepped to the ball. After halftime, we stepped to the ball better. We didn’t play our game until the second half.”
That’s when Guzman moved up top and produced two more goals. Sophomore Ian Dixon filled in capably on the back line.
Senior Josh Webb’s goal with 27 minutes, 13 second remaining staked the Cyclones to 3-0 cushion and pretty much broke Wilson Prep’s spirit. On an assist from Webb, Guzman knocked in his first goal slightly over a minute later.
The Tigers closed the deficit to 4-1 with just under 19 minutes showing. Junior Luis Herrera, on the run, finished an assist from freshman Alberto Herrera.
However, CCS answered with Guzman’s second goal, which was assisted by Webb. Webb nailed a penalty kick and, finally, junior Tripp Evett headed in Webb’s corner kick.
Of the third goal breaking the Tigers’ spirit, head coach Terry Byrd responded: “A little bit. But we didn’t quit and kept on going. We got back one (goal). I saw a different score than what was on the scoreboard.
“We have an early program and we’re making great strides. It’s showing on the field and in their hearts.”
CCS opened the scoring with less than two minutes elapsed with Guzman flicking in Webb’s corner kick. Senior Andrew Huston headed in the second goal with slightly over a minute left before intermission.
Both teams managed 15 shots and Seth Huston’s nine saves included literally taking the ball off the foot of the Tigers’ Alberto Herrera late in the second half.
Guzman smiled and noted he moved up front the second half to “bring up the score.”
“It was OK,” he assessed the performance, “but we still need to pass the ball more. The defense did its job.”
Guzman wound up with a hat trick (three goals). while leading scorer Webb contributed two goals and three assists.
“In the first half, some moments were good,” Mills commented. “In the second half, we played our game.”