PCMS soccer concludes regular season in fourth place

Published 5:50 pm Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Polk Middle School’s soccer team consisted of, front row kneeling, left to right: Ewan Pratt, John Dougherty, Hayden Gary, Ulises Salgado, Carson Marshall, Ethan Edwards, Xavier Cardwell, Jared Wolfe and Eli Edwards; back row, standing: Coach Lucas Veale, Troy Lieberman, Robbie Rardin, Brett Phipps, Jonathan Stoll, Landon White, Isaias Akers, Billy Mosseller, Holden Owens, Wilson Edwards, Weston Fisher, Noah Frazier and Coach George Alley. (photo submitted)

by Lucas Veale

The 2012 Polk County Boy’s Middle School Soccer team concluded its regular season in the highly competitive Blue Ridge Conference with four wins, earning the eighth and final playoff spot and a trip to Canton to face the top seeded and only once beaten Bears.

A blustery October wind and vocal home crowd were no deterrent early on as the upset-minded Wolverines dictated the run of play with a series of slick touches and crisp passes. The initial momentum appeared lost though as the combination of unfinished chances and stingy play by the Canton net-minder conspired to keep the game scoreless. That is until the 20-minute mark when Polk striker Holden Owens received a pass just outside the 18-yard box.

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Under immediate pressure from Canton defenders, Owens somehow found just enough space to bend a remarkable off-balanced snap shot across the width of goal and into the side netting. After the break, the second half quickly tilted in favor of the top-ranked Bears as they confidently poured numbers forward in frantic search of an equalizer. The minutes following must have felt like hours for Polk players as they bunkered in their own end fending off chance after chance for Canton. The lead seemed lost when with 7 minutes to go Canton’s awarded penalty kick found the back of the net. Barely heard over the roar of the home crowd was a referee’s whistle indicating infringement by a Bear player necessitating a retake of the penalty kick. The second kick proved to be too unnerving to take as the ball sailed just over the bar.

The Wolverines breathed a heavy sigh of relief with the 1-0 lead intact. The remaining minutes forced several exceptional saves from keeper Wilson Edwards as he inspired the team’s effort to keep the shutout on the board. The final whistle signaled an exuberant and validating result for the months of hard work invested by Wolverine players.

Polk would go on to lose a close contest in the semi-finals to the eventual champions from Rugby Middle, finishing the season in fourth place. Other highlights of the season included two wins over region foe Brevard, 36 goals scored in total, including a nine-goal outpouring against ACA, and two shutouts.

Eighth-grade co-captains Brett Phipps, and second leading scorer Isaias Akers led the Wolverines. Also taking leadership roles were defensive stalwarts Robbie Rardin, Jonathan Stoll, Landon White, Troy Lieberman and attacker Billy Mosseller.

Seventh-graders were: leading scorer Owens and third leading scorer Ewan Pratt, in-charge midfielders Jared Wolfe and Carson Marshall, speedy wingers Ethan Edwards, John Dougherty and Hayden Gary and stopper specialist Weston Fisher. Ulises Salgado was a standout central defender as well as the stout rotation of fullbacks Xavier Cardwell, Noah Frazier and Eli Edwards, and goalkeeper Wilson Edwards.