NCHSAA 4A Soccer: East 3, Heritage 2:
Published: Nov 09, 2012 11:00 PM
Modified: Nov 10, 2012 10:38 AM
CHAPEL HILL - The fourth round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 4A playoffs represent undiscovered territory for East Chapel Hill after the Wildcats beat Heritage 3-2 last week.
Zachary Lee provide the go-ahead goal and then assisted on what proved to be the game-winner Wednesday as East Chapel Hill turned a 1-all halftime tie into the Wildcats first win in the third round of the postseason as a 4A program.
The two goals in the second half were great, said East Chapel Hill coach Austin Collins, who has led the Wildcats into the state playoffs in both of his first two seasons with the varsity. The main thing I wanted was for us to maintain the pressure and get a second goal and then another. You cant ever take your foot off the gas in the playoffs.
Not even a late own goal Wednesday by East Chapel Hill could dampen the Wildcats enthusiasm.
Ranked No. 2 in the state, the Wildcats (17-1-2) advanced to play at 5 p.m. Saturday at No. 3 Cary Green Hope (21-2-0). That game was too late for todays Chapel Hill News. See www.newsobserver.com
for a report. Green Hope knocked off No. 1 Sanderson 3-2 last Wednesday.
Easts women have won multiple state championships, but the men, despite never failing to qualify for the post-season, have gotten past the second round only once since joining the 4A in 2006. They reached the third round in 2008 but lost to 6-1 New Hanover.
Heritage (16-8-0) was making some history of its own. In just their third year of varsity play, the Huskies were happy to be involved in the second round.
This is our first group of seniors, and weve only got four of them, Heritage coach Scott Sloan said. The high school soccer playoffs are all about creating memories, and theyve made some great ones.
East Chapel Hill appeared to have control early after Michael Balog headed in a left-footed cross from Louis Levin for a 1-0 lead just 12 minutes into the match. But Heritage answered with an almost identical goal with 3:22 left in the first half.
Nando Morales sent a long throw-in from the corner across the six-yard box, and Tyler Van Hall headed in the equalizer from the far post for his 11th goal in the last eight games.
We got a little stuck toward the end of the first half, Levin said. But we started right back in the second like we started in the first half.
Levin got things going in the 63rd minute by banging a hard shot that ricocheted off the hands of Heritage goalkeeper Calvin Hamblett. Lee pounced on the ball and one-timed it from just off the far post for a 2-1 East Chapel Hill lead.
With 8:51 to play, Lee sent a pass forward to Alexander Yokum, who made the most of his one-on-one with the keeper for a 3-1 lead.
That seemed to be plenty of insurance until a Wildcats reserve defender, desperate to keep the ball away from Van Hall inside the penalty area, tried to clear it over the back line but instead fired it into his own goal with 24 seconds left.
In the end, I was putting in guys who had been sitting all game and were stiff and cold, Collins said. They really werent ready.