As the Rolesville public address announcer counted down the final “3-2-1” seconds, Rams seniors Nick Honkomp and Brayan Tellez lifted their arms in at midfield. They celebrated as if they had clinched a title.
This victory wasn’t that big, but it was a milestone, especially for the 16 seniors on the Rams’ roster.
Rolesville’s 2-0 win over Harnett Central on Monday night marked the first time the Rams won a home game in boys soccer.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Honkomp, who scored a first-half goal on an assist from Tellez. “We’ve won on the road. It’s great for the seniors to win our first home game.”
Honkomp and Tellez were among the first eight players to show up for tryouts when Rolesville opened four years ago. They spent four years on the varsity.
The Rams were outmatched the first two varsity seasons with only freshmen and sophomores in 2013-14 and topped by juniors in 2014-15. Last season was the first team with seniors, but this year’s senior class was the first to spend four years together.
“We’re a family,” Tellez said. “We’ve been a family for four years.”
Rolesville’s win also gave the Rams edge on avoiding last place in the Greater Neuse River Conference. The Rams, now 3-16-2 overall and 3-8-1 in conference play, and Harnett Central (2-13-0, 2-9-0) both entered the game with two Greater Neuse victories along with Southeast Raleigh.
Honkomp said the seniors are proud of sticking it out together despite the losing records. James Overman has been their coach all four years.
“We love the game and we like our coach,” he said. “The seniors didn’t want to let each other down.”
Senior goalie Jordan Payne recorded the shutout.
Harnett Central beat Rolesville 4-3 the first time the teams met, but longtime Trojans coach John Pilkington said his players didn’t pressure the goalie as well this time.
“We have six sophomores, so this is probably the youngest group we’ve had on the varsity,” Pilkington said. “But you can’t make excuses. You play with who you have. We stay in ballgames, but we don’t finish.”
Rolesville controlled the ball, but senior Zach Moorehead managed a near-goal in the final eight minutes that Payne saved.
Trojans senior Danny Ayala has had a strong season and turned in another leading performance.
Harnett Central, GNRC champs two years ago, will be moving down to 3A next year.
16th minute: Honkomp broke down the right side and took a middle pass from Tellez. Honkomp beat two defenders on the dribble and scored in the top left.
Halftime: Rolesville 1, Harnett Central 0
61st minute: Keenan Aguilar dug the ball out of a crowd on the left side and sent a cross to the middle Mark Certan, who was alone to redirect the ball into the net.
THEY SAID IT
“We played as a team better this time,” said Honkomp of earning a split. “Last time everyone tried to score for themselves. We had lead 3-2 and we let them come back.”