Myers Park Mustangs’ soccer coach Bucky McCarley said he wasn’t worried about his team’s unusual 12-day layoff before Tuesday’s showdown with rival South Mecklenburg.
Instead, McCarley was just worried about his team’s ability to handle a tough opponent.
In a battle of two of the area’s top 4A high school soccer teams, Myers Park shut out South Meck 1-0 in a high-profile non-conference match at South Meck.
“We came into the game healthy but maybe a little rusty clearly early on,” said McCarley, discussing his team’s 12-day layoff. “That health allowed my top players to stay on the field maybe for longer and have fresher legs. But I don’t think that ended up playing a role in the outcome of the game for us.”
The only goal was scored by the Mustangs’ Alex Heffner in the game’s 62nd minute.
Teammate Cameron Patterson’s shot from 28 yards out bounced off the South Meck cross bar and right to Heffner, who quickly shot from 20 yards and placed in the ball into the top left corner of the Sabres’ goal.
“I was kind of expecting it and was ready for anything,” said Heffner when he saw the ball land perfectly at his feet. “My coach and my team putting me in the right position; talking to me throughout the game, when it came to me I took my chance, scored and it was for the team.”
Ironically just one minute before the Myers Park goal, it was the Sabres who almost scored first.
South Meck’s Spencer Lewisohn’s turn-and-shoot effort just missed, going by the far post.
“Honestly, that’s South Meck versus Myers Park soccer,” said Sabres’ coach Eric White when summarizing the roller coaster emotions of Tuesday’s game. “With a bounce here and a bounce there, it’s ultimately how you finish. It comes down to who makes the most mistakes and ultimately we made the big mistake and gave up the goal.”
From the beginning, it was obvious that scoring was going to be a premium in the game. Both Myers Park and South Meck have solid goalkeeping and a strong defense. That was apparent in the first half as the territorial advantage was equal and neither team scored.
The Mustangs did have four shots in the first half and Sabres’ goalie Ross Bilon was forced to make four saves. Godwin saw some action in front of him but South Meck could not muster any shots in the first 40 minutes.
RECORDS: Myers Park (3-0) South Meck (3-2\u0009-1)
THREE WHO MATTERED:
Martin Godwin, Jacob Hall, Myers Park: Mustangs’ goalkeepers combined for a shutout facing five shots and making three saves.
Adam Heffner, Myers Park: Sophomore midfielder scored what proved to be the game-winning goal and only goal of the match.
Spencer Lewisohn, South Meck: Senior defender/midfielder was solid in the back for the Sabres and had South Meck’s best scoring opportunity.
THEY SAID IT: “I put Jacob (Hall) in with no concerns whatsoever. They (Martin Godwin and Hall) will continue to compete in a healthy, friendly competition for that spot in the goal all season. As far as I’m concerned I’ve got two starting keepers.” Myers Park coach Bucky McCarley discussing his two goalkeepers, whom both played Thursday night.
South Meck defender Clark Hey, who started, was shaken up in the 10th minute sat and out for 20 minutes before returning.
Starting Mustangs’ goalkeeper Martin Godwin was shaken up when he collided with a teammate near his goal with ten minutes left in the game. Godwin was replaced by Jacob Hall for the remainder of game. McCarley confirmed after the game that Godwin is fine and could have come back into the game if necessary.
Entering Tuesday’s game Myers Park hadn’t played in 12 games. The Mustangs’ last action was August 29 when they shut out Olympic 5-0.
The Sabres first shot on goal didn’t come until the second half in the 44th minute. For the game Myers Park outshot South Meck 6-to-5.
South Meck’s senior midfielder/defender and Division 1 college prospect, Adam Charlton, remains injured and did not play in Tuesday’s game. Charlton was injured in the Sabres’ 2-1 loss at Weddington on August 29 and is expected to be out for another month.
UP NEXT: Myers Park will jump back into action Monday at Garringer, while South Meck will resume play Thursday when it hosts Vance.
GASTON DAY 2, DAVIDSON DAY 0: David Efird and Ben Spencer scored for Gaston Day (6-2, 1-0). Efird got his score off a throw-in from William D’Amore and Spencer’s goal came off Jack Dee’s header. Gaston Day will play at Hickory Grove Thursday at 5:30