The Sanderson boys’ soccer team captured back-to-back Cap Eight 4A conference playoff titles with a 4-1 win against Wakefield on Thursday.
Junior Ryan Turner paced the Spartans with his first career hat trick, and Connor Francis added his team-leading 27th goal.
“We wanted to come out there full strength and show them how we used to play,” Turner said.
The Spartans won the regular-season conference title and playoff championship in consecutive years for the first time since 1996.
Sanderson, No. 1 in the N.C. Soccer Coaches Association 4A ranking, will enter the NCHSAA playoffs as a top seed.
Sanderson (21-1-2, 14-1-1) attacked quickly and often. Turner gave the Spartans their first goal five minutes into the game when he lofted a kick just over the head of goal keeper Dylan Scherr, just outside the near post.
Sanderson followed 11 minutes later with a score when Wakefield was called for a tripping penalty inside the penalty box.
Francis took the penalty kick and blasted it past Scherr, who was able to get a hand on it, but the ball still deflected into the goal for an early 2-0 lead.
Wakefield (8-13-1, 3-10-1) answered on a corner kick two minutes later. The kick sailed in toward the net and deflected off Wakefield’s Jeremy Fredrichsdorf, but the ball bounced off him and away from the net where it hit a Sanderson player and bounced back into the net for the score.
Sanderson remained aggressive after the Wakefield score and was rewarded with Turner’s second goal at the 25th minute of the first half.
Turner received a feed from Zac Fusulo and guided it past Scherr for the score, near the same area of his first goal.
“We attacked pretty well and wanted to get to the goal as much as possible, and I thought we did that pretty often,” Sanderson coach Todd Worley said.
Ten minutes into the second half Turner completed his hat trick off a corner kick. Grantham Williams’ corner kick went straight to Turner, who deftly deflected the kick into the goal for the 4-1 lead.
Sanderson could have had a bigger lead but the Wakefield defenders and Scherr kept the Spartans from scoring again.
Scherr stopped Francis on a breakaway, getting an arm on the shot to save a goal.
Turner was denied a fourth goal when consecutive shots into an open net were denied by Wakefield defenders.
Wakefield entered the title match as a sixth seed after upsetting Enloe and Heritage.
“We had a great game plan. We were going to go side-to-side, keep it moving, play it into their corners and looked to change the point of attack. But I got to give (Sanderson) a ton of credit. They reversed that on us,” Wakefield coach Eric Mason said.