On Monday, March 15th, your Manteo Redskins began what they hope to be a long journey through the North Carolina state playoffs. Their first round opponent was Falls Lake Academy, a team which finished third in their respective conference behind powerhouse programs, Voyager Academy and Franklin Academy.
The game was originally scheduled to take place on Tuesday, but it was bumped forward to get ahead of the poor weather that was to be present throughout the 16th.
Upon kick-off, the sun was shinning with an underlying chill in the air, bringing forth a semblance of the normal November playoff weather. The Redskins worked the ball down quickly into their own attacking third, eager to get off to a fast start against a strong first round opponent. Andrew Hayman played a ball in to Noah Goetsch on the near post and Goetsch was able to flick the ball on to the far post. Carter Calvio was in position to knock it home for an immediate goal, but the timing of his touch on the ball was off, and the opportunity passed.
Both teams settled in quickly, showing confidence on the ball in the midfield and looking for combination play to go forward. Manteo was winning most of the 50/50 aerial balls, giving them a bit more early possession and being much more direct in their attacking style than their opponent. Falls Lake Academy on the other hand, was incredibly patient and disciplined in their build up play. Falls Lake Academy most often looked to drop the ball back to their center-defensive-midfielder to allow him to choose the distribution and method of attack.
Manteo’s midfield trio of Goetsch, Rivera, and Ortega-Santos did a terrific job of cutting off passing lanes of which they could distribute through, and worked tirelessly to press each possession of Falls Lake Academy. The Manteo backline was steady early on and throughout the evening, keeping everything in front of them, rarely allowing any balls to penetrate their line into their defensive third.
Manteo’s direct approach to attacking transitions was earning them shots towards the goal. Trent Hayman, Carter Calvio, Andrew Hayman, and Oscar Rivera all saw good looks at the goal, but failed to keep their shots on frame. Twenty five minutes into the first half, Goetsch saw a volley of his deflect off the crossbar and out of play.
Manteo’s best opportunity of the game so far came just a minute after Goetsch’s shot belted the crossbar. Alex Tovar and Carter Calvio combined down the left flank to spring Calvio into the final third. Calvio sent in a beautiful left footed cross to an on-running Andrew Hayman. Hayman met the ball with his head at full pace just atop the six yard box. The goalkeeper instinctually got a strong hand up to his side, and deflected the ball around the post and out of play.
Manteo’s attacking momentum finally carried over into execution in the 30th minute of first half play. Trent Hayman picked the ball on the right wing in the midfield, and flew down the right flank, beating several defenders on his way to the end line. As Hayman dribbled into the 18-yard box, he cut inside just before the end line and squared the ball across into the middle of the six-yard box. Goetsch had been tracking the play and positioned himself well. Goetsch muscled his defender off and knocked the ball into the back of the net to give Manteo a well deserved lead.
Manteo continued to threaten with attacking transitions, but could not net another goal before the halftime whistle blew. Manteo entered halftime with a 1-0 lead.
The second half resembled the first half closely. Falls Lake Academy remained disciplined in their system and looked for patient build-up play through the midfield. Manteo continued to press the issues going forward earning a number of threatening opportunities, but struggled to put the game away with another goal.
With fourteen minutes remaining on the clock, Andrew Hayman look destined to double the lead after being played through the backline with a well weighted pass from Goetsch, however, the goalkeeper made a fully extended diving save to knock the ball around the post.
Only a few minutes later, Hayman would net his first playoff goal of the campaign and give Manteo all it needed to seal the victory. Justin Ortega-Santos won the ball in Manteo’s defensive midfield and spied Richard Hernandez leaning long down the left wing. Ortega-Santos struck a beautiful, well weighted pass through the seems of the entire defense to spring Hernandez loose down the wing. Hernandez took two dribbles at pace as he raced by the defending right-back and drew the attention of the center-back. Hernandez fired off a shot from inside the box, forcing the goalkeeper to make a save. The goalkeeper deflected the shot from the near post, leaving it bouncing in front of the goal. Andrew Hayman was in the correct position to tap it in.
The Redskins carried the 2-0 lead to the final whistle, cementing the first round playoff victory.
Coach Cleaver stated after the game, “This was a well played game by both sides. Both sides were physical, organized, and disciplined in their shape. I felt we were much more aggressive going forward, and that made all the difference in the result. We earned our chances, and capitalized on a couple of them. There were another three or so opportunities that I know we would of buried on a different day, but that’s soccer. Our backline was stout yet again, keeping our opponent out of our defensive third. A big part of that was also the defensive work rate of our midfield three, Goetsch, Rivera, and Ortega-Santos. They certainly put in a shift tonight. We are looking forward the next challenge!”
Noah Goetsch: 1 goal
Andrew Hayman: 1 goal
Trent Hayman: 1 assist
|Pass Success Rate||70%||74%|