Minutes after the final second ticked off the clock in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A girls soccer championship game, Sheldon Shealor, editor of EliteSoccerReport.com, had an announcement to make.
Shealor tweeted: Green Hopes 2-0 win over Hough secures the ESR Spring No. 1 ranking for @GreenHopeSoccer, this year. Coast-to-coast as No. 1.
May 25 was a day the Falcons could reap all the accolades they had been aiming for. They were soccer champions, exacting revenge in a rematch of last years title loss to Hough. They were unbeaten and untied.
And now, the No. 1 team in the country.
This is by far ... composure-wise the best game weve had. Something about today, we were just so relaxed and we just knew how to get it done, senior co-captain Alexis Degler said. I think in our hearts we had absolutely no doubt we were going to win.
Green Hope didnt so much as claim the championship as it matured into champions.
Many of the seniors first started playing at Green Hope when they were sophomores, just after CASL had eased its stance on its top girls soccer players participating for their high school team.
As juniors, they came back wanting a state title, but suffered heartbreak in a late 2-1 championship game defeat, their only non-win of the season.
Even with no state championship to their name, the Falcons had the target on their back throughout the 2013 season. They won three one-goal games in their final seven contests.
I would have so regretted not playing high school soccer because youre not only playing for your team, youre playing for your school, Degler said. And to give your school something to be proud of or leave your mark on your school is just an unreal feeling.
The Falcons scored 149 goals and gave up just 15. They had more shutouts (17) than goals allowed.
Coach Bobby Petersons team is 53-1-0 during the past two seasons.
With 28 straight wins, Green Hope is tied for the second-longest winning streak in NCHSAA history and has the third-longest active streak in the nation. Green Hope also became the fifth school to sweep NCHSAA soccer titles in the same athletic season and the first to do it at the 4A level.
Gibbons wins 3A: Earlier on May 25, Cardinal Gibbons took home its second NCHSAA girls soccer championship, defeating Hickory St. Stephens 3-0 in the 3A title game.
All three goals were in the first 20 minutes of the game.
Our mottos kind of come out hard and try to stop them in the first half and take all of their momentum, junior Morgan Reid said. If we have a good offense, it makes a good defense because its not going to be on our side of the field, so that was kind of what our idea was. We have a lot of very quick forwards, so if we get it up to them quickly, you know good things are going to happen, and today they did.
Blake: 919-460-2606 or twitter.com/JMBpreps.