Panther Creek looked in control of its Southwest Wake Athletic Conference boys soccer match against Middle Creek on Wednesday. Then the Mustangs’ high-powered offense showed why they have one of the top scoring offenses in the Triangle.
Middle Creek scored twice in the final 16 minutes to come back and defeat the Catamounts 2-1. It was déjá vu as both plays were eerily similar: a cross by Chris Wallace that was volleyed in at the back post.
“We knew this was going to be our first real test,” first-year Middle Creek coach Guy Coleman said. “Everyone’s looking to take us down. We went down early and we fought back.”
Middle Creek (5-0, 1-0) ended last season on a tear and it’s carried over despite the coaching change, in part because last year’s team had so few players graduating. The camraderie has stuck out to Coleman.
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“This group is the best group that I’ve worked with in my career. They’re a true team. They’re together on and off the field – they eat together, they hang out together, they’re all friends. “We play like a family.”
Despite the loss, Panther Creek (2-1-1, 1-1), in its first season under Chad Sichak, was hard to break down on defense. Sichak’s back four – Daniel Kasper, Trevor Stevens, Jack Self and Mitch Sorensen – showed quickness and speed.
“That was the one area we knew we’d be pretty solid at,” Sichak said. They’re all fast. They can play physical when they need to and they all play composed with the ball and don’t get too worked up.”
Middle Creek was missing two starters, including a defender, and switched its formation to a 3-4-3 late in the second half. The Mustangs did a better job getting forward and took advantage.
They said it
“He came in from Florida and we had no idea who he was at the beginning of the season; and he’s done an amazing job with this team,” Middle Creek player Tyler Conrad said of coach Coleman. “He really lets us play. He didn’t come in an change a bunch of things. He let us work it out together because we play well together.”
Three who mattered
Parker Cross, Panther Creek: Headed in the game’s first goal on a cross by Liam Camilleri in the 12th minute.
Rhys Borror, Middle Creek: Volleyed in the game-winner with 5:25 to play.
Chris Wallace, Middle Creek: Had both of the Mustangs’ assists on similar plays – crosses to the back post. He has six on the season.
By the numbers
3: Goals by Middle Creek’s Tyler Conrad in as many games.
2: Goals allowed by Middle Creek this season while scoring 22.
13-1: Mustangs’ record in its last 14 contests dating back to last season.
4: Team-high goals scored by PC’s Parker Cross.