Providence High took Ardrey Kells best shot for a third time, and came out on top.
Sophomore Nick Aparicios header in the 98th minute lifted the Panthers to a 2-1 overtime win in the second round of the N.C. 4A soccer playoffs Saturday at Providence. The SoMeck 8 4A Conference rivals, who played to one-goal decisions in two of the three games, leaned on defense and goalkeeping before Aparicios goal broke the deadlock.
Its so hard to play people youve played during the season, then you get into the playoffs and its essentially a conference game, Providence coach Tim Long said. They know what youve got and you know what theyve got and its a matter if somebody is making adjustments and who can make the best ones.
The Panthers, who improved to 23-0, overcame a determined defensive effort by Ardrey Kell when Aparacio, a sophomore, flashed behind the Knights defense to hammer home Andrew Zendans free kick from the right wing.
I was thinking we just had to score a goal quickly because we didnt want to go to (penalty kicks) because of what happened last year, Aparacio said. Me and Andrew have a lot of chemistry, so I knew where he was going to put it and it just happened.
Ardrey Kell (15-7-2) frustrated Providence by packing its defense in the back end to shorten the game and the Panthers scoring opportunities.
We put Cameron Reinhardt in the back as a sweeper, Knights coach Kim Montgomery said. That just worked for us and he was brilliant. My heart is just absolutely broken for my seniors. They just played their hearts out.
The first half ended in a tie at 1 draw in which both sides pushed their attack. Providence struck first when forward Matt Nozedar converted Clark Curriers pass from the right wing into the goal in the 31st minute for a 1-0 advantage. Ardrey Kell pulled even in the 39th minute when Chandler Smith sent home a rebound in the penalty box 15 seconds before the break.
The Panthers didnt panic.
I think that just gave us a boost, Aparicio said. It gave us motivation to take down AK and score a goal to win the game.
Before Nozedars tally, both goalkeepers Ardrey Kells Emilio de Jesus Ferrao and Providences Austin Kent turned in a series of dazzling saves, including de Jesus Ferrao thwarting a pair of Panthers shots on a breakaway to preserve a scoreless tie.
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