CHARLOTTE – Community School of Davidson’s soccer team reached the 1A semifinals, following one-score contests in the third and fourth rounds of the state playoffs.
The Spartans, now with a 21-1-2 overall record, defeated rival Pine Lake Prep Nov. 8, 1-0, finishing off a 3-0 season sweep. Sophomore midfielder Cade Owens got the game’s lone goal at 4:37 in the first half, which came following three consecutive CSD corner kicks, in the game played at Mallard Creek High.
“The strategy was to serve the ball high in the air,” CSD coach Mike Yascur said. “I tell them to follow every shot. Cade Owens did a phenomenal job.”
It was Owens’ fifth goal of the season.
To start the second half, Pine Lake (17-5-1) had several shots, but some were deflected by defenders, while others sailed wide of the goal.
“When the desperation sets in, we just turned up the aggression,” said Pine Lake coach Paul Ebenhoeh. “Our guys just looked lost in the first half. I got to talk to them at halftime and got them motivated since it was potentially the seniors’ last 40 minutes.”
After surviving the second-half barrage of shots, CSD goalkeeper Ethan Baker picked up his 12th shutout of the year.
Yascur, whose 2015 team made it to the state title game, called it a typical “CSD-PLP” game.
“We knew they were going to give us everything we could handle,” he said.
Also in the second half, there was a temporary stoppage of the game following physical play between a player from each side. After the referees consulted with each other, no penalty was given.
“The center ref didn’t do a great job setting the tone,” Ebenhoeh said. “The rivalry’s emotion got going … and it’s one of those things when you see a CSD (team) for a third time.”
Yascur was proud of the way his defense played.
“They did a phenomenal job defensively,” he said.
In last year’s third round, the Pride knocked out the Spartans in a 3-0 game, clinching the season series for Pine Lake. This year, the Pride’s only conference losses were to CSD, which is the 1 seed in the West. The other scores were 2-1 in overtime and 3-0.
On Saturday, Nov. 10, the Spartans defeated 4 seed North Moore 2-1, the second consecutive year the Spartans have knocked out the Mustangs in the playoffs.
Freshman defenseman AJ Webb scored a goal in both the first and second halves, his second and third of the season. He had four shots in the game.
The Mustangs picked up their lone goal in the second half. Baker tallied six saves for CSD, who defeated Polk County Tuesday, Nov. 13 to reach the 1A title game Saturday, Nov. 17.
Ebenhoeh believed the Spartans would have what it takes to make it to Raleigh.
“It’s their physicality,” he said. “They’ve got some great experience. If they can envision playing PLP every game, they could go all the way.”
Following two straight early encounters in the playoffs, Ebenhoeh said next year his team should either “shoot for first or third” as to not face CSD until later.