The dream season continues, although Thursday night, it looked for awhile like a nightmare. The Lincolnton Wolves trailed visiting Salisbury 1-0 late in the game in the fourth round of the NCHSAA 2A soccer playoffs.
It was wet; it was foggy; and while the Wolves defense had been excellent as usual, the Wolves hadn't scored and time was running out.
The Hornets had taken the lead with 11:30 remaining in the first half when Brayan Avilez scored on Charlie Graeber’s throw-in into the box.
With just four minutes left in regulation, Lincolnton was awarded a penalty kick for a foul and senior captain Kevin Calvo converted it to tie the score and send the game to overtime.
A penalty for a handball in the box gave the Wolves another penalty kick in the first overtime and Calvo scored again to give LHS its first lead at 2-1. In NC high school soccer, two 10-minute overtimes are played when a game is tied at the end of regulation.
In the second OT, Lincolnton got called for a handball and the Hornets Colin Donaldson tied the score on a penalty kick. That made the score 2-2 and sent the game to sudden death periods.
In NC high school soccer, if the two teams are tied at the end of the second overtime, there are two five-minute sudden victory or golden goal periods. If no team scores during those golden goal periods, the game is determined by penalty kicks. That was the case Thursday night. Neither team could break through in the sudden-death sessions.
In the shootout that followed, Salisbury’s David Austin and Will Webb converted PKs for a 2-1 lead, Then a save by goalkeeper Wade Robins gave the Hornets a chance to take control.
Donaldson scored for a 3-1 lead. Bennett Clark converted for a 4-2 Hornets’ advantage. But with a 4-3 lead and a chance to end it, the Hornets missed.
Lincolnton evened the shootout at 4-4 on goals by A-Aaron Lail, Zander Harrison, Zack Zagorski and Calvo.
Avilez put Salisbury back in front 5-4, but Lincolnton's Jarrett Trejo answered.
A save by Wolves goalkeeper Sam Carpenter and a Lincolnton goal by Andre Aberrnathy-Ocampo ended the nightmare night and the dream season will continue as the Wolves host Shelby for the western region title on Tuesday (Nov. 16th). A win in that game will put them into the state championship game next weekend at the WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC.
Thursday night's win was the 20th of the season for the Wolves, who are now 20-0-2. Salisbury's season ends with a 20-3 record.
While this game wasn't a shutout like many of the Wolves' wins have been, goalkeeper Sam Carpenter still had an outstanding night. He had five saves in the first half and eight in the second, but the most important was the one that enabled the Wolves to take the win during the penalty kicks shootout.
Shelby won its 21st game of the season 2-0 over Community School of Davidson on Thursday. The Golden Lions won back-to-back state championships in 2009 and 2010. This season, their only loss was to Stuart Cramer.
Manny Torres’ scored in the eighth minute to give Shelby a 1-0 lead. Neither team scored again until the 76th minute when Carter Bridges scored a second goal as the Lions improved to 21-1-2.
In the 3A playoffs, Hickory had already earned a spot in the western region title game with a 2-0 win over Monroe's Central Academy on Wednesday. The Red Tornadoes will host Concord, the team that eliminated East Lincoln 4-0 on Wednesday, in a game next Tuesday.