Ridgecroft sweeps tourney

Published 10:18 am Tuesday, August 25, 2009

AHOSKIE – Ah, perfection…

Ridgecroft School ran its record on the young prep soccer season to a perfect 4-0 this past weekend at Mike Bryant Field as they swept both matches of their own Ridgecroft Invitational Soccer Tournament.

Friday, the Rams shut out Cape Fear Christian Academy of Erwin, 4-0, and followed that up on Saturday with a 3-0 shutout of Trinity Academy of Raleigh. It was Ridgecroft’s fourth win in their first four matches and their third win in four days.

“We’re certainly spreading the wealth,” said a smiling coach Aron Martin on Saturday after the final. “We’re switching well, making runs, and most importantly we’re maintaining possession.”

Newcomer Ryan Beggs scored twice for the Rams and assisted on the final goal of the afternoon by Michael Byrum. Blake Sumner had the other assist for Ridgecroft.

Also credit senior goal-keeper Ethan Phelps with a pair of shutouts for the weekend, as he registered six saves in Saturday’s contest.

In Saturday’s match, the Rams got on the scoreboard 10 minutes into the game. With the visiting Tigers’ defense spread in the corner, Nathan Pierce made a spinning move on a Trinity defender and passed over to Sumner who then took two dribbles and rocketed a pass ahead to Beggs who shot it just past the outstretched arms of visiting goalie, Frank Simme, and the home team struck first for a 1-0 lead.

It appeared the Rams would get a second goal 12 minutes later, but Aaron Rock’s shot sailed just over the crossbar. Three minutes later, Byrum put a move on his defender, but his kick was just right of the goal post and Trinity retained the one-goal deficit.

One of the more amusing — and confusing — incidents of the match occurred a minute and a half later as Rock was fouled on a breakaway, earning a penalty kick. His shot found the back of the net on his attempt, but the goal was waved off because it came after the official set the ball, but did not blow his whistle. The ball was placed for a second attempt, also successful, but again the ref waved off the goal because the exact same thing happened before the shot. On the third attempt, Simme stretched to his right and got the block as the Rams came away empty.

With three minutes to play before the half, Beggs got an errant Trinity pass at midfield and headed toward the goal on a breakaway. In the left corner he sidestepped a defender and curled a beautiful shot into the twine just past the goalie for a 2-0 Ridgecroft lead which held up thru halftime.

As the second half opened, Ridgecroft missed a couple of early shots before Byrum’s goal ended the scoring on the afternoon with a goal that made it 3-0 just seven minutes into the half.

After a mandated water break in the sweltering 90-degree heat midway thru the half, Martin began to clear his bench and the Rams had eight more attempts to pad their lead; but Simme, just a sophomore, made a series of spectacular saves for Trinity to keep the game from getting out of hand.

“We’re a young team,” said Trinity coach Steve Woodard with a grin, “and they taught us a few things.”

“Playing against such top-flight state competition like Ridgecroft and Statesville will help us get the flow of the varsity game a bit more,” he added, “and hopefully make us better.”

“We’re not as sharp as I’d like it,” said Martin, “but it’s still early. Our defense was relatively sound and our communication was good, plus we got a super effort from Ethan.”

“We don’t need to just work hard,” he added. “We need to work hard doing the right things.”

Ridgecroft’s next match will be at Bryant Field at 4 p.m. on Thursday against Terra Ceia before the Rams play three straight on the road.