Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson said it: "Success isn't always about greatness. It's about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come." If you can't believe "the Rock," who can you believe?
One of the most important attributes of the undefeated Lincolnton High School soccer team is consistency. The Wolves don't score as many goals as some other teams. They rely instead on a very consistent defense.
While goals bring cheers, it's not allowing the other team to make them that consistently wins games--and Lincolnton has been stellar in that respect. Their back four are as good as you'll find on any high school team. Center backs Zach Zigorski and Kevin Calvo are a key part of why goalkeeper Sam Carpenter has recorded 15 shutouts. Right back Zander Harrison and left back Edwin Olivia are, according to coach Brad Bagan, "lockdown one-on-one defenders."
The Wolves have held opponents without a goal in their last eight matches; they've allowed more than a single goal only once in 21 games (Newton-Conover had two in a 2-2 tie October 11th. Their opponents have scored only seven total goals in those 21 matches. Their 18 wins include a handful of games in which they've scored five or more--but that isn't why they win. It's their consistent defense that has given them an 18-0-3 record.
Jesus Blanco-Tellez and A-Aaron Lail are the leading scorers for the team. Chuy, known affectionately as the "baby Shark," had a 'hat trick' (three goals) in last week's second round 6-0 win over Forest Hills. Both he and Lail have 10 goals for the Wolves.
Anyone who knows the game knows that if you want to see how important a player is to the offense, you look not at goals but at points. Chuy has 30, A-Aaron 27, and Zander Harrison 28. Harrison leads the team in assists with 10, Calvo has eight and Lail, seven.
The Wolves' opponent in Monday's (Nov. 8th) third round game at LHS is Lincoln Charter. The Eagles, unfortunately, aren't consistent. They've looked great on occasion, among the matches where they did a win on the last regular season game against East Lincoln, a team that tied the Wolves in one of their two regular season meetings.
The Eagles have talent and on their best days, they play very well. They've scored 62 goals in their 22 games, just four less than the Wolves. Their leading scorer is sophomore Ethan Walker with 17. Don't let their 10-11-1 record fool you--they play in a tough league. The Catawba Shores 1A/2A Conference has five of its six teams still alive in either the 1A or 2A playoffs.
Other matches in round three scheduled for Monday include East Lincoln finally playing at home after winning their first two playoff matches--the latest a Thursday upset over #1 western 3A seed Hibriten. The Mustangs, the 16th seed, will host #24 seed Enka, also an upset winner last Thursday, this evening.
North Lincoln won its second round match on Wednesday and will play at Concord Monday. The Knights will need a strong offensive effort; the Spiders are exactly the opposite of the team they beat last Wednesday: the Blue Comets from Asheboro had scored 99 goals in 18 games. Concord has allowed just 11 goals in 25 games and they've had 16 shutouts in their 23 wins.
In other matches involving area teams on Monday, Stuart Cramer will host Central Academy from Monroe, and Hickory will host North Henderson in 3A playoff action; in 2A play, 4th seeded Shelby will host 5th seeded North Forsyth; in 1A round three, Highland Tech will play at Gray Stone Day in Misenheimer and Thomas Jefferson will play at Langtree Academy in Mooresville.