Published: Sep 13, 2012 06:49 PM
Modified: Sep 13, 2012 06:50 PM
HOLLY SPRINGS - Under the first year of new head coach Brian Miller, Holly Springs is hoping to break into the upper echelon of Tri-9 Conference soccer teams. While they work towards that goal, Apex is already there.
The Cougars, ranked fourth in the News & Observer with a program history unmatched by many Triangle teams, proved their standing with a 4-0 defeat of the Golden Hawks on Wednesday.
All of Apex’s goals came in the first half as the Cougars improved to 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the Tri-9.
Holly Springs (3-5, 1-3) had three scoring opportunities thwarted by Apex in the first half, putting the Golden Hawks in a difficult hole to climb out of.
“We were able to move the ball well, execute our passing and really the key was finishing well,” said Apex head coach Kevin Todd, whose Cougars had scored 10 goals in the previous two wins. “When you finish like that, especially scoring two goals back-to-back, it really creates an incredible degree of confidence.”
The Golden Hawks defense played tough for the first 20 minutes, but in the 22nd minute Tyler Sanderson found the net from close range to give the Cougars the lead.
Apex scored again 28 seconds later when Daniel McGinty headed the ball in off a deep throw-in.
Compounding the hardship for the Golden Hawks was that they came close to scoring first, but Cougar freshman goalkeeper Corey Vodicka stopped a hard shot by Tyler Shade in the 14th minute. The young goalkeeper then caught a break a short time later when what looked to be a surefire goal off the foot of Oscar Villalta hit the left post and bounced away.
Vodicka, who played the first half and finished with six saves, also jumped up and deflected a potential Holly Springs goal over the net just prior to intermission. The freshman split time in goal with another freshman, Johnny Guemple, who posted three saves in the second half.
Todd was very encouraged by the play of the young tandem, who were filling in for injured junior goalie Brian Lewis.
Miller was proud of how his Hawks responded to a four-goal deficit in the second half, but hopes that they learned something about how they were put in that position by the veteran Cougars.
“It’s tough when you dominate for 20 minutes and you just can’t get that first goal to go in,” said Holly Springs head coach Brian Miller. “In the second half the soccer was not pretty, but I liked the way we played the entire 40 minutes hard.”
Miller was especially pleased with the defensive effort of junior outside backer John McNulty, and credited junior goalie David McCallum with a solid effort (eight saves).
Cougars Brett Eckmeder and senior Josue Soto also added goals for Apex.
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