It took three overtimes, but North Lincoln High School's soccer team, which had lost close games to North Iredell twice during the regular season, proved 'the third time is the charm' by winning the second round game in the NCHSAA 3A playoffs Wednesday night (Nov. 3rd) at Olin.
The Knights and Raiders each scored two first half goals, but neither team scored in the second half. High school soccer overtime rules require two 10-minute periods that are not sudden victory. If a team leads at the end of the first overtime period, the second overtime period is still played. If the two teams are still tied at the end of the second overtime period, there are two five-minute sudden victory or golden goal periods. If no team scores during the golden goal periods, the game is determined by penalty kicks.
Wednesday night's game was tied 2-2 all the way to the penalty kicks. That's when the 29th seeded Knights claimed the victory over the 13th seeded Raiders. Luke Custer, Lawson Hare, Belil Boyd, Hunter Kossler, and Max Rhyne scored on penalty kicks.
It was their second 'upset' win. On Monday (Nov. 1st), they had won over 4th seeded Asheboro. The Blue Comets had scored 99 goals in 18 games, but North limited them to a single goal. That second half goal sent the game into overtime and the Knights scored their third goal in OT for a 2-1 victory. Their third round opponent will be 5th seeded Concord, 4-0 winners Wednesday over Franklin. The Spiders are now 22-2-1. North Lincoln is now 11-12.
For anyone who watched the game (as I did) and wondered about Austin Collins, who had to be helped from the field in the second half--it was leg cramps. He's OK and will be ready to play on Monday.
The Spiders are exactly the opposite of Asheboro. They've allowed only 11 goals in 25 games and 16 of their wins were shutouts.
Most of the second round games are scheduled for Thursday. Among them, East Lincoln, seeded 16th in the 3A playoffs will play at #1 seed Hibriten. The Panthers are a scoring machine. They've scored 113 goals in their 19 games including a 9-0 first round win over West Mecklenburg on Monday. East, 5-1 winners Monday over Smoky Mountain, will need their best game to beat the 18-1 Panthers. The Mustangs are now 12-8-2.
In the 2A playoffs, unbeaten Lincolnton (17-0-3), seeded #2 in the west, will host 18th seed Forest Hills (15-5-3). The Yellow Jackets should be well-rested. They advanced to the second round without playing a game when Walkertown forfeited. Lincolnton won its first round match over Wilkes Central 2-0. Three regular starters didn't play in that contest on Monday; they were out sick.
Lincoln Charter also plays in the 2A second round. The 23rd seeded Eagles (9-11-1) will visit Owen in Black Mountain after winning in overtime 4-3 over Concord Robinson on Monday. Owen, the #7 seed in the west, won 6-1 over West Caldwell on Monday. The winner of that match will take on the winner of the Lincolnton-Forest Hills match in the third round next Monday.
In other 2A second round matches, Shelby, the #4 seed, will host Newton-Conover; and Hendersonville, the #1 seed, will host Community School of Davidson.
In 3A play, Hickory beat St. Stephens on Wednesday 2-0 as the 3rd seeded Red Tornadoes improved to 19-3-1. They had tied the Indians in their first regular season meeting; Hickory won the second. The win on Wednesday advances them to the 3rd round against the winner of a Thursday match between Gastonia Forestview and North Henderson.
In a second round match scheduled for Thursday, Fred T.Foard will play at #2 seed Stuart Cramer. The Tigers (13-6) won Monday over Lake Norman Charter 2-1, while the Storm (20-2-1) knocked off Freedom 2-0.
In 1A play, Highland Tech will host Cornerstone Charter in round two. The Rams won their first round match over Sugar Creek 10-1.