No. 8 Laney 2 No. 1 Apex 1
Eighth-seeded Laney handed No. 1 ranked Apex a 2-1 setback to move on in the 4A playoffs on Wednesday night.
“We weren’t intimidated and outplayed them tonight,” said Laney Coach Jamie Noble. “We’re a confident group and had a really good season other than one bad week. We were definitely mindful they were the number one team, but I think beating a team like Green Hope last week, a side in the same conference that split with Apex, I think it really put us in position to grab this result tonight.”
The Bucs ran off their eighth straight result as Jack Brarens netted the game-winner before the break, while Stephen Hagewood made a huge save late in the match to preserve the win.
“Stephen made a huge stop in the last few minutes and really happy for him,” Noble added. “He’s turned out to be a big asset for us down the stretch and it couldn’t happen to a better kid.”
Wesley Nelson put Laney on the board just five minutes into the first period on a sloppy pitch off an assist from David Dailey, but Apex found the equalizer midway through the first half until Brarens found the go ahead goal.
No. 8 Laney moved to 18-3-3 overall and will host No. 12 Broughton in the East Regional semifinals on Saturday. Apex finished the year 21-2-1 overall.
“To have two teams in the final eight again this year and Hoggard made it too tonight – says a lot about our league,” said Noble. “We once again are showing our might across the eastern part of the state and it’s just good to have our guys a part of that.”
No. 23 New Hanover 3 No. 18 Sanderson 0
New Hanover advanced to the fourth round of the 4A state playoffs following a 3-0 result over No. 18 Sanderson on Wednesday night.
“We’ve talked a lot about defending well down the stretch,” said New Hanover Coach T.J. Rennie. “I think getting wins late in the season against good sides in Hoggard and Ashley gave us a ton of confidence heading into the play and we’re playing our best soccer right now.”
The Wildcats grabbed their third straight road win in postseason play thanks to a strong defensive effort and scores by Shaffer Lisle, Jack Kiernan and Declan Payne. New Hanover has yet to allow a goal during the tournament as Roman Lewis had six saves in the shutout.
Lisle and Juan Rosales each picked up an assist for the Wildcats, who have a 23-seed in the 32-team bracket.
“You couldn’t ask for a better group of guys,” Rennie added. “They’ve worked so hard this season. I’ve made a few adjustments that I probably should have made earlier this year, but our back line has done a great job defending and we were able to get a few to find the back of the net tonight. Shaffer had a blast that rang off the post to get us ahead and we scored off a long throw in to keep it going.”
New Hanover improved to 19-7-1 overall with their nine straight win and face the winner of No. 3 Cardinal Gibbons/No. 27 Enloe on Saturday.
No. 12 Broughton 1 No. 20 Hoggard 0
The Vikings traveled to WRAL Sports Complex in Raleigh on Wednesday afternoon and suffered a 1-0 season-ending setback to No. 12 Broughton.
In the 15th minute, senior Ibrahim Mohamud juked a defender in the box, resulting in a foul and penalty kick. Mohamud calmly slotted the kick past the diving keeper to notch what would turn out to be the only goal of the match.
Hoggard closed the year 14-7-4 overall. Broughton travels to Wilmington for a date with No. 8 Laney in the fourth round of the playoffs on Saturday.