Published: Nov 16, 2011 02:00 AM
Modified: Nov 14, 2011 09:07 PM
CARRBORO - Revenge is sweet, especially when it results in a ticket to the semifinals of the state playoffs.
Such was the case for Carrboro's men's soccer team Saturday night, which avenged its only loss of the season with a 4-0 shutout of Durham School of the Arts and earned a spot in the 2-A Eastern Regional.
Carrboro (23-1-2) will host East Duplin (24-1-0) at 7 p.m. tonight in the NCHSAA East Region final. The Jaguars lost to East Duplin 2-1 in last year's state semifinal.
DSA finished its year at 18-2-2, with both its losses coming against Carolina Conference rival Carrboro, the No. 1-ranked team in the state's 2-A classification.
The Bulldogs had ruined Carrboro's "Senior Night" on Oct. 24 with a 4-2 upset on the Jaguars' home turf, briefly knocking them out of the state's top spot.
"When we lost to them, we were up 2-1, so we knew we had to keep playing," said Carrboro coach Mark Kadlecik. "They won 4-2 last time, so I wasn't even content with four goals, to be honest."Carrboro dominated possession out of the gates, holding the ball in the offensive third of the field and generating scoring opportunities early.
Still, it took a set piece to get the Jaguars started offensively.
Twenty minutes into the game, senior Sam Hickey lined up a free kick at the top of the box, the result of a DSA defender tugging at the jersey of a Carrboro forward. Hickey fired low and to the right, past the outstretched arms of a diving Stephen Alen.
After that, the Jaguars started to finish.
Less than 10 minutes later, midfielder Thar Thwai surged into a wide-open middle of the field. His through ball met the run of outside midfielder Nico Krachenfels, who neatly tucked his shot past an on-rushing Alen.
Hickey and Connor Roach would each find the goal on brilliant individual efforts before halftime, seemingly putting the game out of reach.
"We just never got into our rhythm tonight," said DSA coach Amy Green.
"They shut my No. 1 scorer down, double- and triple-teaming him, and he couldn't really break away until the end."
Kadlecik was pleased not just with his team's offensive output, but their ability to make adjustments from the first meeting with DSA.
"We shifted some things tonight because of the way (DSA) plays, so we had some guys out of position, and I thought they adjusted very well," said Kadlecik. "The first time we played them, we just tried to ping it up to Connor and let him outrun kids. Tonight he did a good job holding up, combining with the midfielders."
Facing a four goal deficit in the second half, DSA spent more time in the scoring third but still couldn't find the net. Green attributed the offensive struggles, at least in part, to the defensive changes made by Carrboro."When we won here, Steven (Disla) had a large part, he had two goals and an assist in that game," said Green. "I just think him actually being shut down this time definitely hurt us."
Moving on to the Eastern Regional title game, the Jaguars relished another rematch, Kadlecik said.
"Our kids are looking forward towards having another opportunity to play someone who knocked us out of the playoffs last year," he said.
Kadlecik still saw room for improvement heading into tonight's game.
"We have to put together 80 minutes," said Kadlecik. "I thought this is the closest we've done to that in the playoffs, but against East Duplin it's going to take a Herculean effort."
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