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SOCCER PLAYOFFS: Christ the King returns to state title game

Drew Hansen, shown in last year’s state championship game, has led state champion Christ the King in goals and assists the last two seasons. /File-Doug Coats

HUNTERSVILLE – Christ the King will head to its second straight 1A state championship game following its 3-2 defeat of Langtree Charter Tuesday night in the regional finals.

In cool and wet conditions, the top-seeded Crusaders won their 12th straight game, and took down their second Catawba Shores conference opponent in the postseason. Senior striker Drew Hansen took the conference goals lead with two scores, both on the ground past the 10-seed Lions’ goalkeeper Matthew Cardaropoli. The UCF commit now has 36 on the year.

“Drew had two bombs,” CTK head coach Mark DiPietro said. “We talked for two days, the conditions were going to be like that, and kept saying, ‘On the ground and on frame.’”

Fellow senior forward Nik Seguin scored the other CTK goal, which soared over the keeper’s head. The two goal scorers also had one assist each.

It was the third CTK win over Langtree this season; two were one-score games and the other in overtime Oct. 12. DiPietro said despite the familiarity on both sides, the game’s stakes created a heightened atmosphere. The team was hoping the Lions would emerge from their regional semifinal game against Mount Airy.

“Langtree knows us well, we were fortunate to win two close games,” DiPietro said. “They’re not going to come in afraid; it’s going to be a familiar setting, and they know everything about us. On the positive, we knew exactly what they would do. There was definitely some back and forth”

Langtree tied its program record for wins with 14, and avenged last year’s playoff loss to Mount Airy to advance one step farther in the postseason.

The senior trio of Hansen, Seguin and Marcos Frias will play in their third championship game in their careers, losing their freshman year in 2019 and defeating Voyager Academy last fall. Frias was Championship MVP in the latter. They’ve achieved a 15-2 record in the postseason.

Not only does that group bring experience and talent, but they’ve also helped bring along the younger players this season after the mass turnover in the Crusaders’ back end.

“They’re so supportive of one another,” DiPietro said. “Drew does not need to be helping freshmen work on positioning, yet he does every day. Drew is drew, Nik is Nik, Marcos is Marcos. The reason we have our eight through 16 players are better than most 1A eight-to-16s, is because they make them better.”

CTK will face the winner of Voyager and Goldsboro’s Rosewood, who face off on Wednesday night. The state championship will be played either Friday night or Saturday at McPherson Stadium in Bryan Park in Greensboro. DiPietro said the team will have a watch party streaming it on

It will be the first championship game CTK has played outside of Cary’s WakeMed Soccer Park.

“I would much rather play in Raleigh,” DiPietro said.


Lincoln Charter falls in OT 

BLACK MOUNTAIN – Lincoln Charter made a late-game explosion to tie Owen High School late, but fell in three overtime periods in the 2A West regional finals. 

Hosting as the 10-seed, Owen took a 3-2 lead with 12 minutes remaining on a penalty kick, then the 17-seed Eagles scored twice before the end of regulation to make it 4-4 and send the game into extra time. After the two 10-minute periods were scoreless, Owen’s Davis Kendall scored his fourth goal of the night and second PK as the game-winner.

Lincoln Charter finished the year 13-10-3, and played all five of its playoff games on the road.

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