Ridgecroft downs Greenfield

Published 4:08 pm Friday, September 23, 2011

From Staff Reports

WILSON – Rematch of the state title game? Check.

Battle of number one versus number two? Check.

Two highly-regarded programs with a huge rivalry? Check.

Thursday’s contest between Ridgecroft School and Greenfield School on the soccer pitch had all of those elements, but when it came down to it, it was about the young men playing this year.

In the end, top-ranked Ridgecroft walked away with a 2-1 victory that secured an 8-1 overall record this season.

“Sure, we knew it was a rematch of last year’s state championship game and all of that, but we didn’t spend much time talking about it,” Ridgecroft Head Soccer Coach Aron Martin said. “The state championship certainly wasn’t won or lost by either team during this one match.”

Martin called Greenfield “quick and technically sound” and said his team was extremely tight for the first 25 minutes.

“We didn’t come out and execute over the first 25 minutes like we normally do,” he said. “On the other hand, I will also say Greenfield played well.”

In fact, the Knights were able to draw first blood on a kick that swirled behind Ridgecroft keeper Jordan Harrell and was knocked into the goal.

That score, however, seemed to stabilize Ridgecroft.

“I was very impressed by our boys,” Martin said. “In that kind of atmosphere, they did a good job getting their legs under them and establishing themselves after that.”

Moments later, Drey Chrysostomou whipped the ball into the box and Landon Larabee hooked it into the back of the net for the equalizer.

Martin said the two teams continued to battle until a Greenfield player went down in a non-contact injury.

“That really put the game in perspective, I think,” Martin said. “Fortunately, the reports I’ve heard are good.”

The teams stayed deadlocked through the intermission.

“At halftime, I told the boys to relax, settle in and play within themselves,” Martin said. “We played better in the second half, but there were still some things we need to clean up.”

The coach said Greenfield put pressure on the Ridgecroft defense, but said his team was able to do the same.

The Rams hit the go-ahead goal shortly after the 70th minute of play when Chrysostomou got past two defenders and slotted the shot on an angle for the goal.

“From there, we both had chances, but we held on for the win,” Martin said. “Jordan Harrell had a couple of great saves to keep us ahead.”

The coach said the sometimes heated rivalry was played well and that he was proud to see mutual respect on both sides.

“It was certainly a big win for us,” he said. “I’m very pleased with the heart of this team. I think we’ll get better. Greenfield is probably going to get better too.

“Even though we’re number one and number two, I don’t think anything is presumptive at this point,” Martin added. “There are a number of teams that can win the title. We’re working to make sure we give ourselves the best chance.”