After letting a two-goal lead slip away within a 90-second span midway through the second half, the Cape Fear Academy soccer team regained their composure and notched the game-winner five minutes into the first extra session to grab a 3-2 result over Coastal Christian on Tuesday afternoon.
Zach Tomosunas netted the go ahead score in the 85th minute when the junior gained good positioning to flick a header from a Bernard Austin throw-in as the ball deflected off the left post and keeper Hunter Mintz across the end line to give Cape Fear Academy a 3-1 conference mark and 9-4-2 record overall.
“I’m really happy for our guys, especially our seniors, said Cape Fear Academy Head Coach Meade McFarlane. “They took it to us twice last year and we knew they could score in bunches. We just kept on fighting and got a nice touch in overtime to get the win. Coastal is well-coached, talented and they kept battling so it’s just a real good day for us to be able to come home with the win.”
With their backs against the wall and a two-score deficit, the Centurions knew they let a few opportunities get away over the opening 40 minutes, but Douglas McKinney put Coastal Christian on the board off a beautiful through ball from Matt Ward to close the gap. Josh Butts found the equalizer with a header on a corner kick from Ward in the 56th minute to grab momentum in a closely played match.
“It was a great response in the second half, but unfortunately we weren’t able to get the third one to put the game away,” said Coastal Christian Coach Michael Scheffel. “Cape Fear played very well today and made the most of their chances.”
Freshman goal keeper Al Cavagnaro was up to task early for the Hurricanes and finished with nine saves in the game, one of which came in the early stages of the match. The Centurions were quick to the punch off the opening whistle as Butts fired a shot on frame from 25 yards out that was punched away by Cavagnaro.
Coastal Christian held a 13-6 shot advantage over Cape Fear Academy, but the Hurricanes made the most of their first set piece as Austin hammered home a corner kick in the ninth minute after Robert Schuett sent in a service towards the far post. Matt Bangert gave Cape Fear Academy a 2-0 advantage approaching the midway point of the first half when the senior made a couple of nifty moves through a pair of defenders and sent a lofting shot over the outstretched keeper, who was a few feet too far from his end line.
“Al has done a great job for us and we’re playing four freshmen in the back so for him to really step up tonight was big,” McFarlane added. “This is a game, it’s our big in-town rival, circle it on our schedule and always want to play well. We have a lot of respect for Michael [Scheffel] and the success they’ve had and just happy to come out tonight on top.”
Four yellow cards were issued in the match, while Coastal Christian had a 6-1 edge in corner kicks, one of which hit the crossbar on the third consecutive service in the 30th minute of the first half.
McKinney nearly put the game away towards the end of regulation after gaining space along the right edge, but his shot fired wide right. An off sides call in the waning seconds of the match also nullified a potential goal as the Centurions fell to 9-4-1 overall and 1-1 in conference.
“It’s all about the next play and next game for us,” Scheffel said. “We have a lot of soccer to be played. This is a great conference, a great rivalry with us and Cape Fear and this is something you expect every time you step out to play them. Hopefully, we learn from tonight and move forward.”