Northern Durham soccer coach Michael Treteault had a straightforward message for his Knights after Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to East Chapel Hill.
“We may not be in the driver’s seat, but we’re not in the trunk, either,” Treteault said after Northern (9-3-0, 4-1-0) suffered its first loss in PAC-6 soccer this season.
Wednesday’s result dropped the Knights one-half game behind Cardinal Gibbons (9-1-1, 4-0-0), which blanked Person 9-0 Wednesday.
East Chapel Hill improved to 6-1-2, 3-0-0 with its win Wednesday. The Wildcats host Cardinal Gibbons on Monday; Northern’s next game is Wednesday at Cardinal Gibbons.
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“Depending on what happens Monday and Wednesday, things could look completely different Treteault said.
East Chapel Hill edged in front of Northern in the PAC-6, at least for now, thanks to a successful penalty kick in the 20th minute Wednesday by Connor Albrecht and a game-winning goal by Vinay Kathard with 21, minutes, 51 seconds left in the game.
Northern took an initial lead in just the seventh minute on a strong shot by Mario Orozco off an assist from Rigo Villalpandal.
The turning point
Northern and East were dead even in shots (12), shots on-goal (4) and corner kicks (2) for the game’s first half, but the Knights offense slipped a gear after Orozco twisted his right ankle in the first half and iced it for at least 25 minutes before re-entering the game midway in the second half. The Wildcats got off the first three shots – all on-goal – of the second half and kept the Knights on their heels most of the last 40 minutes.
By the numbers
24: total East Chapel Hill shots, 13 of them on-goal.
19: total shots for Northern Durham, 7 on-goal.
5: corner kicks by East Chapel Hill, compared to 4 for Northern.
2: saves by Northern goalie Carlos Salazar in the game’s final 2 minutes.
Three who mattered
Tyler Westerhoff: A senior goalie for East’s lacrosse team, Westerhoff was pressed into service as the soccer team’s starting keeper after erstwhile starter Lee Folger suffered a concussion Sept. 17 in a 3-1 victory over district rival Carrboro. “He had never played soccer for us before tonight,” East coach Austin Collins said. “We was great. He played his role perfectly.”
Kathard: The East sophomore was a dominant force in the middle, especially in the second half. He created chances for others and jumped on his when it came, tapping in a rebound of his own hard shot that bounced off Salazar’s gloves.
Salazar: A junior, Northern’s keeper made some brilliant saves in both halves and ended up with seven total.
Theo Lisberger and Chris Balog of East Chapel Hill both made back saves of Northern shots from within 12 yards in the game’s 68th minute, blocking what would have been game-tying goals.
They said it
Collins: “We knew they wanted to hit the ball deep, and we talked before the game about how we wanted to avoid making any mistakes along the back. They were all over us, giving us trouble, early on.”