South Mecklenburg wins NC 4A boys’ soccer championship – Charlotte Observer

South Mecklenburg’s boys’ soccer program waited 30 years for a return trip to a state title game.

Back for the first time since 1985, the Sabres captured the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A championship on Saturday, defeating Wilmington Laney 2-0 at N.C. State’s Dail Soccer Complex.

The Sabres’ previous appearance was a runner-up finish. In 1971, South Mecklenburg also won the title. This was Wilmington Laney’s first trip to the championship.

“This is a great,” said Sabres senior captain Brad Scharf, who scored the go-ahead goal in the second half for a 2-0 lead. “I never thought it would be like this.”

Enthusiasm ran high among fans, too. They were undeterred by the 11 a.m. start, or the long drive as the Sabres’ designated half of the stadium’s bleachers overflowed.

“That is school spirit right there,” Scharf said, motioning to the bleachers. “The fans were tremendous.”

The Sabres (23-0-2) led 4A state teams in scoring, but leading scorer Marco Garcia had gone three straight games without a goal due to late-season injuries. He snapped his post-season slump with 22:30 left in the first half for his 39th goal and a 1-0 lead.

On the score, junior Collyn Carpenter sent a pass from the left side of the field to the middle, 15 yards out. Garcia handled the pass skillfully as he knocked the ball down with his chest and scored before the Buccaneers (20-4-3) could react.

“Coach (Eric White) said he wanted a first-half goal,” Garcia said. “It was an emotional feeling to get that goal.”

The 1-0 lead stood up to intermission, thanks to two key saves from goalie Harish Amatya. On the first, the 6-foot-2 senior leaped above a crowd in front of the goal to prevent a header attempt. The second was a breakaway shot high to the right corner that he leaped to get a hand on and send over the net.

“Our team played great,” Amatya said.

1A: Franklin Academy 3, Community School of Davidson 1

Senior forward Nick Hughes’ three goals led the Patriots (22-1-3) over the Spartans (22-3-1).

Hughes, who finished the season with 55 goals, was the unanimous choice for most valuable player.

Community School’s goal came in the 31st minute, when Francisco Prado’s 43rd goal of the season tied the game 1-1.

This was the first NCHSAA title game for each school.

2A: Salisbury 3, Washington 0

Senior midfielder Landon Goodman was named most valuable player after the Hornets (27-0-2) won their third state championship since 2011.

He scored the game’s second goal in the 55th minute off an assist from Kevin Flores. It was Goodman’s 66th goal this season.

Eight minutes later, freshman Brandon Ibanez made it 3-0. Senior Chris Uribe scored the first goal off an assist by Joshua Lynch, and senior goalkeeper Arturo Ramirez recorded the shutout.

3A: Weddington 2, Lee County 0

Mason Peeler and Mitchell Van Dyne scored second-half goals to lift the Warriors (21-2) to their first state championship in soccer. Van Dyne was named most valuable player.

News services contributed

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