Unbeaten Conference Champs

On Thursday, March 11th, your Manteo Redskins hosted the Camden Bruins in a final conference showdown. In the previous fixture, Manteo bested the Bruins by a score of 2-0 in a hard fought game on Camden’s home field. The Manteo-Camden rivalry has provided some classics over the years as Camden’s physicality and defensive prowess can give any team trouble.

The final home game of the season boasted senior night for the Redskins. The match officials were double booked across the bridge, officiating a game between the Nighthawks and the Eagles. While the Redskin’s game was scheduled to start at 6 PM, it would not get underway until 6:45 PM, as the officials were tied up in an overtime game in Kill Devil Hills. While the players and fans waited for officials, the Redskins went ahead and honored their seniors. Manteo’s six seniors include Carter Calvio, Noah Goetsch, Andrew Hayman, Aldo Herrera, Richard Hernandez, and Yeifer Perez. All seniors have been four year members of the varsity soccer team, and earned four consecutive conference titles.

When the game finally kicked off, both teams did so in poor form. In the first ten minutes of play, both teams struggled to connect passes and keep possession of the ball. More often than not, balls were knocked over the sideline for a throw-in or a foul call gave a team a chance to push up and send a long ball forward.

Passing ten minutes of play, Manteo interjected a few substitutions and began to find a bit more form and possession in their attacking half. The Redskins were able to find combinations to play behind the backline of the Bruins, however, their backline did well to recover and knock balls over the sideline. Manteo started to earn several throw-ins in their final attacking third and looked to use the whipping wind to guide throws into the six-yard box for runners.

In the 18th minute of play, Andrew Hayman launched a throw-in towards the near post. Noah Goetsch did well to beat his man mark to the post and slightly dipped his head under the ball, flicking it on to the far post. The flick-on with his header crossed the goal line, and bounced into the back of the net before the goalkeeper or other defenders could react.

Two minutes after taking a 1-0 lead, Manteo would double their lead with a goal from Andrew Hayman. Trent Hayman took a corner kick from the left side, lofted the ball into the six-yard box where only his brother, Andrew, could get it. Andrew Hayman rose high above his defender and headed the ball straight down onto the goal line, seeing it bounce into the back of the net.

In a matter of minutes, Manteo had taken a commanding lead through two set pieces. In the final twenty minutes of the first half, Manteo settled in a bit more on the ball, keeping it mostly in their own half. The Redskins still struggled to connect passing strings into the final third as the Bruin backline was often up to the task of denying entrance.

The Manteo backline did well to keep the run of play in front of them, disallowing Camden through balls for their two strikers. When Camden did work the ball down into their attacking 18-yard box, it was most often due to a foul called against Manteo in the midfield. The Bruins used the midfield free-kicks to send dangerous long balls into the box, but Manteo defense was always up for the task at hand.

The halftime whistle blew with Manteo holding onto their 2-0 lead.

The second half was much of the same as the final twenty minutes of first half. Manteo kept the ball in their own half for the most part, except for when Camden opted for long service off the many midfield free-kicks they earned. Both teams were playing physically and fighting hard for every single 50/50 ball, whether in the air or on the ground.

While Manteo kept the ball in their half mostly, they struggled to find the target with shots from the field of play. When they did fire off a shot, it was too often off target, letting the goalkeeper off the hook. The Redskins primary focus seemed to just be to keep the Bruins out of the back of their net, to to keep the clean sheet.

In the end, they did just that, earning a 2-0 win over their conference rivals and cementing yet another conference championship. The Redskins would wrap up the regular season with an unbeaten 8-0-2 record and are your 2021, Albemarle Athletic Conference champions!

Coach Cleaver stated after the game, “This was a great game to end our season with and prepare us for the playoffs next week. Camden is a tough, physical team. While we didn’t play our absolute best, especially in terms of possession, we had to find a way to win by dialing up the set pieces. In the second half, I really wanted us to simply manage the 2-0 game and take it to the house. In the playoffs, game management becomes so important and at some point we will need to do just that. I’m proud of our team for what them have achieved so far this year and I am excited for the playoffs to begin. Congratulations to our seniors for four consecutive conference championships.”

Game Stats:

Andrew Hayman: 1 goal, 1 assist

Noah Goetsch: 1 goal

Trent Hayman: 1 assist

Possession %54.9%45.1%
Attacking Transitions11091
Free Kicks721
Successful Passes10569
Pass Success Rate54%47%

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