The year 2013 was pretty good for Ravenscroft boys soccer, but 2015 may be better for some of it’s seniors.
The Ravens killed two birds with one stone after defeating Charlotte Providence Day, 3-1, in the 43rd Annual Ravenscroft Soccer Invitational Saturday afternoon.
One: winning the tournament for the second time in three years. Ravenscroft won the championship in 2013 for the first time since 1986.
Two: Starting the season 6-0.
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“It’s a great win for us,” Ravens coach Alix Charles said. “Great preparation, because we were focused on trying to go 6-0, and there it is: 6-0. That should really put us in a good position for the rest of the season.”
The Ravens defeated Cannon and High Point en route to the championship round of the tournament, which started Thursday. They open conference action on Sept. 16 with Durham Academy and have won all six games at home this season.
Senior midfielder Connor Gridley, who was part of the 2013 invitational title team, recorded a hat trick.
Ravenscroft senior Kelvin Jones beat a defender down the line and found Gridley inside the fifth minute to open scoring.
The Ravens dominated possession early, resulting in a first-half shutout.
“I think it helped us build our confidence,” said Jones, who led the match with two assists. “We played a strong first half, so in the second, we just continued what we were doing and the work we were putting in.”
After the break, Ravenscroft came out swinging, peppering three shots on goal in the opening minutes. That was moments before Gridley’s second goal in the 41st.
He struck again soon after when junior John Daniel Sawyerr dribbled up the middle and connected with Gridley for Ravenscroft’s final goal in the 48th minute.
The Ravens led, 3-0, until Jordan Sienkowski’s penalty kick danced around the goal keeper in the 60th for Providence Day’s lone goal.
“That was unfortunate, because I wanted to get more of my other players in,” Charles said.
The Ravens host Chapel Hill Tuesday and will play their first away game at Greensboro Day Thursday.
“It’s a great start to the season,” said Gridley, who got off a team-best five shots. “I think we can do a lot of things with the season. I’m looking to the next thing: winning conference and then we can win states.”
Three who mattered
Gridley, Ravenscroft: The senior rounded off his invitational career at Ravenscroft with a hat trick. He pressured Providence Day a number of other times, as his shots barley missed the mark.
Jones, Ravenscroft: The speedy midfielder didn’t sweat under pressure. He had a big first half to help the Ravens take control early. He also had four shots.
Johnny McNiell, Ravenscroft: The senior defender dominated in the middle, his headers often winning 50-50 balls to maintain Ravenscroft’s pace.
They said it
Charles on Gridley: “He’s such a great player. He works; he never stops. He gets hurts, and he bounces back again ready to go.”
Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan