The competition around the Raleigh Charter boys soccer team is growing, but the Phoenix continue to rise to the occasion, most recently downing Research Triangle 5-1 to improve to 11-0 (11-0 North Central Athletic 1A).
“We’re an experienced team … but everyone has been playing the game and we have the same mentality,” Raleigh Charter’s Noah Ontjes said.
Research Triangle dropped to 11-4 (9-2). Wednesday’s loss at the WakeMed Soccer Park fields was its second consecutive loss, as well as its second loss against Raleigh Charter.
The Phoenix struck in quick succession, as Sayak Basu knocked in a rebound coming from a shot from Bashirr Morray and Noah Ontjes scored a goal not soon after.
Barker’s goal cut the deficit in half heading into the halftime, where the teams remained at a 2-1 scoreline for the majority of the second stanza despite Raleigh Charter’s dominant possession-based style of play.
Despite not getting another shot on goal, the Raptors did keep the Phoenix on their toes with it’s counterattacking play.
Then the floodgates flung open for the Phoenix, as Basu earned a brace and Ontjes notched his hat trick in the waning minutes of the match. The nail in the coffin was a header coming off a stellar cross from the right foot of Grayson Trogdon.
Despite having two players score in bunches, it was Raleigh Charter’s unselfishness that got the job done.
“That’s the the thing, if you look at the scoreline, we spread the ball out really well. I try to accentuate unselfish behavior, not taking errant shots and giving up the ball when you don’t have a good look and they’re very good at that,” Grosso said.
He added: “At halftime we talked about what we were doing formation-wise and how we were supporting each other and we were leaving guys abandoned. You saw possession, the time of control and possession really accelerate in the second half. It took some time, but we found a way to finish in the end.”
Despite the lopsided scoreline, there were positives for the Raptors. For one, they got on the board against a team that had allowed only two goals in its previous 10 games when Travis Barker finessed a ball into the bottom left corner just before the halftime intermission.
The five goals allowed was also less than the seven allowed on Sept. 7.
“Our defensive play had a more stout back and last time we let them take it to us,” Research Triangle coach Jay Liotta said. “Overall, I thought our defense did a pretty good job. Raleigh Charter is at the top of our conference and we know the level of play they bring is high.”
Though, the scoreline was wide, Research Triangle goalkeeper Chandler Frye stole the show all evening with his acrobatic saves.
“Chandler is a freshman keeper … and he replaced the only keeper we’ve ever had,” Liotta said. “You see it in matches like this one, he steps up his game and rises to the level of competition.”
“That keeper played out of his mind,” Grosso said.