Stevens: Sanderson boys soccer team has string of shutouts

tstevens@newsobserver.comSeptember 19, 2012 

Sanderson has recorded seven straight boys soccer shutouts and has allowed only four goals this season while building an 11-0-1 record. The tie was 0-0 against Cardinal Gibbons.

“We have changed formations to fit this group of players, and for the most part all of the players have bought into the system,” said Sanderson coach Todd Worley.

“The team has the ability to put pressure on opposing teams. This has led to a lot of goals and also kept the ball away from our defensive third. However, our four defenders have allowed us to put more people in our offensive third. These two things allow for us to be dangerous going to goal.”

The defense is led by seniors Evan Walsh, Josh Lull, Freddie Woodward and Troy Willard, while the midfield has juniors Ryan Turner and Junior Dylan Haynes. Freshman Grantham Williams is skilled and gives the Spartans size and strength outside.

Senior Connor Francis has scored 16 of the Spartans’ 48 goals. He leads the area with 36 points.

“Connor possesses an uncanny ability to score from anywhere on the field,” Worley said. “He is our only striker so he gets fed a lot up top, but creates a lot of scoring opportunities for himself and his team. Connor has a strong shot, and this year he has done a great job of getting it on goal.”

One key for the rest of the season, though, is developing other scorers, Worley said.

Sanderson is ranked third in the N.C. Soccer Coaches Association 4A poll behind undefeated Green Hope and Winston-Salem Mount Tabor (5-1-1). Durham Jordan (6-1-3) and Leesville Road (7-3-0) are Nos. 4 and 5.

Non-traditional schools: The N.C. High School Athletic Association’s ad hoc committee on parochial and non-traditional schools has met two times, and the dialogue has been good, according to Bobby Guthrie, the Wake County Schools athletic director and a committee member.

“We’ve talked about financial aid and where the parochial and non-traditional students come from,” Guthrie said. “One thing that has been very clear during our discussions is how education is changing.

“In the Wake County system, for example, we have just about every type of school that you can have with magnets, academies and alternative schools. Education is changing.”

Davis Whitfield, the commissioner of the NCHSAA, said the group has had very open discussions.

“I know a lot more about the non-traditional schools,” Guthrie said. “One of the key things, I believe, will be finding a way to share what the committee has learned with the membership.”

Winning streak: Garner had won 40 consecutive Greater Neuse 4A Conference volleyball matches entering the week. The Trojans should get one of their better in-league challenges of the season Thursday night when they visit Clayton, which is 5-2 in the conference after struggling early in the season.

Garner 10-3 overall, 6-0 in the conference, visited Harnett Central on Wednesday night.

UNC Wilmington recruit Kristen Powell has 183 kills on the season for Garner and is connecting on 46 percent of her attacks.

The Comets (6-6 overall) are under first-year varsity coach Marlon Lee, who also coaches the Clayton girls basketball team.

Centennial celebration: The NCHSAA will begin a centennial celebration with a kickoff gala on Jan. 12 and wrap up a year of festivities with a celebration on Jan. 11, 2014.

Between the two events, the NCHSAA’s 396 member schools will participate in activities and events throughout the year.

As part of the celebration, the NCHSAA will recognize the top 100 male athletes, top 100 female athletes, top 100 coaches (male and female combined), and the top 100 administrators in North Carolina high school sports from the last 100 years. A Centennial Team Selection Committee will make the selections, but nominations are welcome.

The nomination form is online:

Safe driving: The NCHSAA and AAA are collaborating on a safe driving emphasis this year. North Carolina trails only Texas in teen traffic deaths.

AAA will be at all of this year’s NCHSAA Regional Meetings and will provide packets of information for schools to share with their athletic teams, including videos, stories of teens who died while texting and driving and distracted driving statistics.

NCHSAA officials and school administrators discuss issues during regional meetings. Area schools will go to regional meetings on Sept. 24 in Fayetteville, Sept. 2 in Kenansville, Sept. 26 at East Carolina, or Sept. 27 at N.C. State.

Tstevens: 919-829-8910

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