Published: Aug 28, 2007 01:50 PM
Modified: Aug 28, 2007 01:50 PM
Since 2003, a Wake County soccer team has won the NCHSAA 4-A state championship every year. In two of those years, 03 and 05, the champion came from what is now the Tri-Eight Conference.
If everything goes according to Green Hopes plan, the Falcons will be the team to keep that streak alive in 2007.
Green Hope began the long march to the top Aug. 27 in ideal fashion, a 4-0 winner against Wakefield. The Falcons won two more games later in the week, 4-0 at Leesville Road on Aug. 29 and 2-0 over Watauga on Friday in Wilson.
We have the eye on the prize, said Green Hope coach Andrew Chadwick. Its about building to the end, but this is a good start.
Martin Murphy scored two first-half goals, and Justin Taylor and Stephen Clowes tacked on two more in the final 40 minutes against Wakefield. Goalkeeper Alex Long had to make just one save to earn the shutout.
Its a good start to the season, Murphy said.
If the Falcons are going to make a long run, the blueprint they laid out against Wakefield would be a good one to follow.
Their defense was rock solid and allowed only one shot on goal. And that shot was a harmless free kick from more than 30 yards that Long easily saved.
The attack, meanwhile, fired nine shots on goal and 16 total shots. The Falcons scored on a set piece and two counterattacks. They made it difficult for Wakefield to defend because they made smart decisions quickly.
The thing that impressed me the most about Green Hope was their speed of play, said Wakefield coach Scott Sloan. They limited their touches. When they did play a flighted ball, or played it on the ground or they did switch it, they didnt take multiple touches. They did it quickly. And they unbalanced us.
Chadwick is hoping that a few ideas he gleaned after watching the Liverpool youth academy team play in Greensboro this summer will help the Falcons along their way.
Liverpool played the N.C. Olympic Development team earlier this summer, and Chadwick noticed the fluidity of their play and how all 11 players interchanged positions, causing confusion for the defense. All the while, Liverpool never lost its formation.
Youd look back, and the formation was still the same, Chadwick said. The fluidity of it was incredible. Im humble enough to say, if Liverpool does it, I need to learn from that.
Late against Wakefield, Green Hope demonstrated the tactics potential. Clowes received a pass from Justin Smith and broke in on the Wakefield goal. As Clowes attacked, he had teammates making overlapping and criss-crossing runs. Wakefields defense was so disoriented, Clowes could have laid the ball off to two or three other teammates, who would have had just as good a look at the frame as he did. Instead, Clowes fired a hard shot to the back post for the Falcons fourth goal of the night.
While the Falcons got off to a good start last week, the season is still in its infancy.
They think they have a good team, Chadwick said. Theyre humble and they work hard, so this is just a step in a pathway for three and a half months.