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home : sports : e-sports October 16, 2021

10/5/2021 6:12:00 AM
LHS @ ELHS Tops Soccer Schedule

Wayne Howard

Weather permitting (there's a 50-50 chance that it will be raining) the rematch of Lincolnton and East Lincoln's soccer teams will take place this Tuesday evening at 7:30 at East Lincoln.  East Lincoln has enjoyed a successful soccer program for the last several years.  The Mustangs made it to the state championship game with Chase & Logan, the Gilley twins, in 2019.  They were South Fork Conference champions each of the last three years.  Lincolnton is ranked #1 among western region 2A teams this season and is unbeaten in 10 matches.  More about the rematch in a moment, but first, a look at yesterday's scores:

Lincolnton 3, West Lincoln 0
North Iredell 5, East Lincoln 3 in overtime
North Lincoln 6, West Iredell 0
Newton-Conover 10, Maiden 1

North Irdell 5, East LIncoln 3 OT
Perhaps they were thinking too much about the rematch with Lincolnton…but whatever the reason, having watched East Lincoln in two other games against Iredell County schools on the NFHS Network, this was not the same East Lincoln team I had watched on other occasions. 

North Iredell scored first, 12 and a half minutes into the match, but East scored two quick goals in the final six minutes of the half to lead 2-1 at halftime.  The Mustangs scored a third goal two minutes into the second half.  Until late in the game, despite numerous mistakes, East appeared likely to win.  But then North Iredell scored with 14 minutes left to cut the lead to 3-2.  Then the officials gave each team direct free kicks in the last four minutes of play. 

On a questionable call (it did not appear to be In the box but was ruled that way) a foul by East Lincoln gave the Raiders a direct free kick from the center of the penalty box.  The kick got by the goalkeeper and hit the back of the net in the right hand corner.  That made the score 3-3 with 4 minutes left.  With one minute left, East also got a direct free kick opportunity but the kick was caught by the goalkeeper and the game went to overtime.

A breakaway goal with two-and-a-half minutes left in the first OT period gave North Iredell a 4-3 lead.  A minute and a half later, a long free kick curved into the right hand corner of the goal and produced the final 5-3 score.  Neither team scored in the second 10-minute overtime period.

The win gives  North Iredell at 4-2 conference record  (6-4-1 overall) and drops the Mustangs to 4-2-1 in the Western Foothills Conference, 6-5-1 overall.  Fred T. Foard still leads the league with a 6-0 conference mark. The Tigers’ match with Hickory will now be played next Thursday (Oct. 14th).  Hickory with its 4-1-1 conference record (6-4-1 overall) replaces East Lincoln in second place. 

North Lincoln 6, West Iredell 0
North Lincoln got its second conference win Monday with an easy 6-0 romp over West Iredell. The Knights scored early and often, the last goal coming in the final minute.  North will visit East Lincoln on Wednesday (weather permitting). 

Lincolnton 3, West Lincoln 0
The Lincolnton Wolves improved to 9-0-1 with a 3-0 win at West Lincoln.  Coach Brad Bagan played some of his younger guys, but seniors had a good night.   Zach Zigorski had two goals,  Andre Abernathy-Ocampo  had the other;  Zander Harrison and Silbestre Martinez both had assists.

Coach Bagan told us: “It was really a nice night out at West Lincoln, especially because their field is on par with a lot of top D3 and D2 college teams. Their field is already one of the best if not the best in the county, and once they get some lights, they are gonna be in business.  The coaches over there are always great to work with and I really cannot say enough about their AD and coaching staff on both the men's and women's teams--really one of the easiest groups to work with since I have been coaching over here.”

While West Lincoln has won only two games, it's important to remember that they're just getting a soccer program started (they didn't field a team last year).  

Newton-Conover 10, Maiden 1
Newton-Conover blasted Maiden 10-1 Monday. 

Tuesday’s games include Lincoln Charter at Pine Lake Prep and Highland Tech at Cherryville.  Also happening Tuesday is the much anticipated rematch of Lincolnton and East Lincoln.  This time, it will be (weather permitting) under the lights at East Lincoln.  The match begins at 7:30. Coach Bagan compares LHS vs East to Duke vs Carolina in college basketball.  “You can throw out the records, we both want this one!” 

He added: “a lot of the guys are friends off the field.  I have coached a couple of the EL guys on the club level; there is a mutual respect for each other, but from the first to final whistle this one is always a war. There is always good soccer on display, and you can throw out the record books, because the final result will come down to who wants it more.  It should be another classic.  We had two last year that were back and forth and tense until the clock ran out in both contests.”

East Lincoln Coach Michael Arabie agreed that this match means a lot to both teams. 

While Lincolnton has the better record, the two appear very evenly matched.  East has scored more goals than Lincolnton, but not a lot more…37 to 31.  East is led in scoring by junior Jackson Thrap.  Lincolnton’s scoring is more balanced, almost evenly divided among sophomores A-Aron Lail and Jarrett Trejo and freshman Jesus 'Chuy’ Blando-Tellez.  If Lincolnton has any advantage, it’s their defense.  Goalkeeper Sam Carpenter has recorded seven shutouts in the Wolves’ ten games.  LHS hasn’t allowed a goal in the last five, and no more than one goal in any game.  When the two teams met on August 23rd in the first match of the season, Lincolnton won 2-1. 

About the coaches

Lincolnton is coached by Brad Bagan.  Brad is a graduate of Purdue University Fort Wayne, Indiana, but he’s a Charlotte native.  He has coached at the college level at UNC-Greensboro, and while the Wolves finished In third place in the South Fork Conference last season, he was named the conference Coach of the Year. 

This is the first seson at East Lincoln for Coach Michael Arabie.  He played his college soccer at Belmont Abbey where he graduated in 2017.  Prior to coming to LHS, he served as an assistant coach at South Point for two years. 

Bagan’s experience includes coaching goalkeepers at the college level, where he cut the team’s goals allowed in half. 

Michael’s philosophy of soccer is simple: “possess the ball.” 

The weather may force some postponements but other games scheduled this week include Bunker Hill at LHS Wednesday.  Also Wednesday, East Lincoln will host North Lincoln, Maiden will host East Burke, Lincoln Charter will play at Langtree Academy, and West Lincoln will be at Bandys.

 Cherryville will play at Bandys on Thursday. 

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