Published: Nov 23, 2011 02:00 AM
Modified: Nov 21, 2011 06:44 PM
CARY - Cardinal Gibbons senior goalie Chris Shannon was proud to have helped the 2010 Crusaders boys soccer team capture its first 3A title and send that year's seniors out as champs.
This year, Shannon and his teammates ensured that this crop of seniors went out the same way; the Crusaders repeated as NCHSAA 3A champions with a convincing 3-1 victory over Charlotte Catholic on Saturday at Wake Med Park.
Gibbons finished the season 24-2-1 and avenged a 2-1 regular-season defeat at the hands of the Cougars.
Crusader sophomore and championship game MVP Ade Taiwo scored two goals and Chase Rhode added the other for Gibbons, which earned its fourth NCHSAA title in the past six seasons.
"This is the first time we've ever gone back to back," said Gibbons head coach Tim Healy. "That was our inspiration throughout this season and it was exemplified by these seniors."
Shannon recorded 10 saves to help the Crusaders repeat. The Cougars (22-4) attacked more in the second half but were unable to slip a goal past the Gibbons senior.
"It's fantastic; we just worked so hard," Shannon said. "We knew we had to give everything we had, and all the guys wanted to make sure this year's seniors could have the same feeling as last year's guys."
Healy said the regular season meeting was key in Gibbons altering its attack in the title contest. He said the Crusaders figured out how to attack and defend Catholic better during the second half of that match. Even though it was too late to change the outcome of that game, it proved vital in Saturday's showing.
Defensively, the Crusaders sought to take away Cougar midfielder Roland Minogue and force others to beat them.
The Cougars scored first, when Chris Gorospe slipped past a Crusader defender and capitalized on a perfect pass from Minogue in the 13th minute.
Gibbons tied the contest 1-1 two minutes later when Rhode headed in a beautiful corner kick from senior Tyler Zimmerman.
The Crusaders' second goal came when Taiwo raced past the Catholic defense and powered a shot past Cougar goalie Johnny Archer seven minutes before intermission.
Taiwo scored his second goal (and 18th on the season) in the 55th minute off a Dom Finelli assist to conclude the scoring. Although Catholic still had 25 minutes to make a run, Gibbons defenders such as Satchel Wiltshire, Ryan Milroy and Zack Millikan prevented it from doing so.
"After they (Catholic) beat us it seemed to help us develop more as a team," Taiwo said. "It feels good to have two rings and to get to win them with a group of guys who I love like brothers."
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