Manteo Earns the Conference Title

On Monday, October 28th, your Manteo Redskins faced off against the Edenton Aces for there final game of the season. There was certainly a lot on the line as the outright conference title hung in the balance. If Manteo won, they were the conference champions. If Edenton were to win, Manteo, Edenton, and Camden would all be tied for first place which would result in a coin flip to determine the number one seed in their conference in respects to seeding for the playoffs.

Manteo hosted the Aces for their final game, making it senior night. The Redskins had every reason in the world to be fired up to play a hard-fought game.

Manteo kicked off the game but struggled to maintain possession early on. Both teams seemed to be shaking off some nerves and maybe some weekend rust as they struggled to string together consecutive passes. After the first seven minutes passed, Manteo settled into their normal style of play and began to control the ball, earning quality looks at goal.

After the Redskins first two attempts on goal were shot right at the keeper, Trent Hayman gave Manteo the 1-0 lead with the assist from his brother, Andrew. Andrew took the throw-in down on the left flank and launched it into the 18-yard box, targeting Noah Goetsch. Goetsch rose up against his defender to head the ball in the air but it grazed the top of his head, continuing on into the center of the box. The ball bounced as Trent Hayman made his run off the far post to win it first. He lept into the air to volley it back across the goal and into the back of the net.

The early goal really settled the Redskins and rattled the Aces. Manteo started to dominate the ball on their attacking half, putting constant pressure on the Ace’s defense.

Manteo’s second goal was another frustrating blow to the Aces as it was an obvious miscue between the goalkeeper and his center-back. Carter Calvio had received the ball out on the left-wing. He sent an early cross into the top of the box, targeting Andrew Hayman. The ball took a quick, hard bounce just in front of Hayman. Hayman faked a touch in the opposite way of which the ball was traveling. His defender went with the fake, leaving the ball skipping through on goal. The goalkeeper took his first step with the faint as well and before he realized it, the ball bounced into the far post side netting.

Things were really starting to go in favor of the Redskins. With fifteen minutes remaining in the first half, Manteo took a 3-0 lead with a goal from Noah Goetsch. Andrew Hayman had a physical shoulder to shoulder challenge in the middle of the field, 30 yards out. Hayman won the challenge, sending the defender to the ground. The Aces felt it was a foul but the whistle never blew. As a few defenders protested the non-call, Goetsch collected the ball in from of the box, took a touch towards goal and then took a wide-open shot from 18 yards out. He curled it low and just inside the near post.

Richard Hernandez made it 4-0 before the half with a textbook curler into the far-post side netting. After receiving the ball on the left wing just outside the 18-yard box, Hernandez cut inside, split two defenders, and struck it with his right foot to bend the ball around the fully extending diving keeper and into the side netting.

At halftime, Manteo honored their three seniors for their four years in the varsity program. Manteo seniors include center defensive midfielder, Brandon Gonzalez-Martinez, right midfielder, Brayan Hernandez-Ramirez, and goalkeeper, Steven Ortega-Santos.

The Aces are never a team to back down or quit. After the half, they came looking to get a goal back and claw their way back into the game. The Manteo defense had kept a close eye on Edenton’s top scorer, number 17, and continued to shut him down.

Noah Goetsch almost kept the goals rolling early in the second half off a free-kick, spotted 25 yards out from goal. Goetsch crushed it over the wall, sending it curling and dropping in. The goalkeeper got enough fingertips on the ball to touch the shot onto the crossbar as it clanked back out into play before being cleared out to safety.

Goetsch would get his second goal of the evening not long after finding himself unlucky on the free-kick. Hernandez began the attack by beating his defender down the left wing before sending a long cross to the back post. Trent Hayman took a collecting touch off the long cross that lead him back out wide away from goal under immediate pressure from his defender. Hayman beat his defender to turn the ball back inside before sending a low cross into the middle of the six-yard box. The ball took a short hop off the ground just as Goetsch crashed in, hitting it on the half-volley and into the back of the net from five yards out.

Upon the resulting kick-off for the Aces, their striker, number 17 opted to take it alone. He dribbled past each layer of the Manteo formation before firing off a rocket of a shot bound for the back of the net but Ortega was up for the challenge and punched the ball up and over the goal. Ortega would have another huge save late in the game that he flicked off the crossbar to keep the clean sheet for the Redskins.

As the game whined down with a 5-0 Manteo lead, things got a bit chippy at times, often egged on by a lively student section. After a few yellow cards were handed out, Manteo looked to get most of their starters out of the game and hold on for the 5-0 victory.

Team Stats
Possession %
Attacking Transitions
Free Kicks
Successful Passes
Pass Success Rate

Coach Cleaver stated after the game, “Excluding the first five minutes of the fixture, I thought we played great tonight. We were focused and fired up to take on the opponent and executed quality soccer. Everyone pitched in tonight to make it a complete game. Our goal is always to win and have a clean sheet, and we did that tonight to achieve our regular-season goal of being the conference champs. This certainly has not been an easy season as it took us quite a while to figure things out with such a new and young team. However, we have things dialed in at the right time and we are excited to take on any and every opponent in playoffs.”

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