By DAVID BORAKS
CORNELIUS - As a first-year school, Hough High has no seniors, and that means for most of its sports teams, it’s a building year. The picture is no different for the boy’s soccer team, except that Coach David Smith’s kickers have enjoyed a little end-of-season bonus: a win in the state 4A playoffs.
The Huskies finished the regular season with 8 wins, 12 losses and 1 tie. Not a winning record, but good enough for a wild card tourney berth. In Wednesday’s opening game, they upset Porter Ridge (14-6-2) by a 1-0 score, on a goal by Cheyn Roux of Davidson. He scored on an assist from Nathaniel Goodwin of Huntersville.
The win sends the Huskies into a second-round game Saturday night at 7 p.m. at A.C. Reynolds High in Asheville. Reynolds is 14-4-3 after beating East Gaston 7-2 Wednesday.
Coach Smith, who formerly was head soccer coach at Vance High, said Friday that “everything we’re doing is just building for the future.” Nonetheless, he added, since Wednesday’s win, “It’s been a lot of fun. These past couple of days have been a bonus.”
“We’re very young and inexperienced, and we only had a couple of guys that played varsity (at their former schools) last year. The whole season was a learning process.”
For the Huskies, “it was just a matter of putting things together and getting things to fall into place,” Smith said.
Having several players injured in recent weeks made things a bit more difficult. But things came together on Wednesday. “The other night was really the first game that we had played with everybody healthy in three or four weeks. It was probably our best effort defensively … all season,” he said.
Hough’s top scorer this year is Santiago Patino of Cornelius, with 12 goals. He played last year at Hopewell High. Goodwin had eight goals. In goal is Collin Black of Davidson, who made several key stops Wednesday to help the Huskies prevail against Porter Ridge.
A.C. Reynolds may be a different story. Smith said they’re led by striker Austin Wyman, who has 25 goals on the season and has already signed to play soccer next year at Liberty University.
“He’s just real dangerous. It’s really what he does without the ball that makes them so strong. We’ve got a couple of things planned for tomorrow night to slow him down.”
Wyman and teammate Aspen Bartels scored three goals each against East Gaston. Thomas Zabriskie had a goal and 4 assists.
Coach Smith said his team also will need to “put some goals in the back of the net” to have a shot at Reynolds. “I don’t know if 1-0 is going to do it this time.”
Download the tournament bracket from the NC High School Athletic Association. (PDF)