- Game Date
- Oct 16, 2018
- : 10
ROCKY MOUNT ACADEMY: 1
KNIGHTS POUR IT ONLY EARLY AND TAKE A NCISAA 1ST ROUND VICTORY, 10-1 WIN OVER THE VISITORS FROM NORTHSIDE CHRISTIAN ACADEMY; 13-3-0 Overall,5-1 Southern Piedmont Athletic Association (SPAA)
HICKORY, NC- On a damp afternoon at Henry Fork Park, the Knights came out the victors in a shortened contest and are headed to the 2A playoffs second round.
The offensive fireworks started early in the match, minute number four to be exact as senior Gabe Walker got it rolling on an unassisted goal giving the Knights an early 1-0 advantage. At minute number 9, senior Luke Ikerd placed a header from the corner and off the foot of freshman Braden Runyon for a 2-0 margin. Sophomore Chase Collins continued his stellar play down the left side as he sent Walker an assist and Walker finished the job and taking the Knights advantage to 3-0 in just the tenth minute. The Knights took the lead to 4-0 as senior goalie Owen Duncan kicked a "big ball" from goal and Walker out-sprinted the defensive pressure en route to his third goal of the day. Rounding out the scoring in half number one was sophomore Braden Whitford, on the receiving end of an assist from Walker and the scoreboard read 5-0.
Before the half would end, sophomore Garrison Mullis who had been out more than a week with an ankle injury found the back of the net. This was made possible from the foot of sophomore Wyatt King who was awarded the assist. Mullis' goal gave the Knights a 6-0 lead but the visitors from Northside would manage to score their only goal of the contest in the last minute of the half. Heading into halftime the Knights built a 6-1 lead.
The second half would be an extension of the first the Knights would score at minute forty-two. Senior Jack Zaliagiris, who had moved from the defensive side over to offense, found Walker heading to goal and the senior drilled it in the back of the net and moving the score to 7-1. Sophomore Wyatt King, who had a few close misses in the first half took advantage of his opportunity in the second half, scoring an unassisted goal at minute number forty-eight. As the rain started to become heavy and with the score 8-1, senior Gabe Walker scored two more goals (6 for the match) at minute fifty-two and fifty-six. Walkers goal, with an assist from sophomore Braden Whitford in minute fifty-six, sealed the victory as the contest was shortened due to the 10-1 advantage.
Holding the visitors to just one goal was the result of ball control on offense and a swarming defense . Senior goalie Owen Duncan had a spectacular day on the pitch as he secured the net with diving stops on several occasions. Sophomore goalie Nate Walls stepped in to the mix late in the first half and finished out the contest to hold off any further scoring from Northside. Duncan and Walls have been working hard at their craft and are provided valuable instruction from goalie coach Joel Whitford.
Sophomore Ian Benfield, senior Will Lehman, senior Jack Zaliagiris, senior Aedan Arnot, junior Spencer Burton and senior Luke Ikerd all played valuable minutes on the defensive side. Sophomore Caleb McMurray played limited but valuable minutes due to a groin injury suffered in practice.
Freshman Braden Runyon was the recipient of the HCA Battle Ball, a HCA tradition after each game awarded to the player with the best effort, attitude, performance and all-around impact on the outcome of the contest. Runyon, with his assist early in the contest, broke the long standing HCA freshman assist record. The talented freshman has accounted for seventeen assist this season and will look to add to those numbers as the 2A state playoffs continue.
The Knights will host a 2A second round playoff game against Burlington Christian at 4:00, Thursday October 18th at Henry Fork Regional Park in Hickory.