Sparked by two first-half goals by Tobias Gangsto, Jordan took an early 3-0 lead Wednesday that held up for a 3-1 win against Chapel Hill in a non-conference soccer game ended early by lightning.
DURHAM Chapel Hill’s soccer players aren’t too worried about two recent losses suffered over a five-day period.
Both were against top-notch 4A programs, and both revealed flaws that the Tigers would rather know about now rather than once conference matches begin this week.
Chapel Hill (2-2-0) lost 5-2 to New Hanover last weekend and then 3-1 at Durham Jordan in a game Wednesday that ended in the 55th minute because of lightning in the area.
“They exposed our weaknesses,” Chapel Hill head coach Jason Curtis said after the loss at Jordan. “Sometimes when things aren’t going well, you fall back into familiar patterns that aren’t necessarily good. That’s what happened at Jordan.”
Wednesday’s match wasn’t just about gaps in Chapel Hill’s back line or the fact that the Falcons were bigger and more physical than the Tigers. The most significant thing may have been that Chapel Hill still is learning to live without six all-conference players gone from last year’s Big Eight champions —including the conference’s player of the year and goalkeeper of the year.
The Tigers have been learning on the fly, and Curtis could see improvement in his players from the first half Wednesday to the second. Indeed, many observers could note that Chapel Hill picked up its tempo after falling behind at Jordan.
“We’re getting better, even if the results aren’t always there,” Curtis said.
In a crucial span of 3 minutes, 17 seconds late in the first half, Jordan’s Tobias Gangsto and Thomas Vann each scored goals, putting the Falcons ahead 3-0 with 8:03 left before halftime.
Gangsto had opened the scoring just 6:43 into the contest at Barringer Field. Tyler Dressman sent a ball across face of the goal to Gangsto at the far edge of the six-yard box, who one-timed it in for a 1-0 lead.
Gangsto scored again from the opposite edge of the box off a corner kick for a 2-0 Jordan lead with 11:20 left in the first half, and Vann’s goal came off yet another ball across the six.
John Walden put Chapel Hill on the board with 7:07 remaining in the first half with an unassisted blast from about 28 yards out, which sailed over the Jordan goalkeeper’s out-stretched hands high into the net.
Walden recorded at least one point in each of Chapel Hill’s first four games, with assists in the first three matches plus a goal against each New Hanover and Jordan.
Walden, a midfielder/striker, is the first junior selected as a team captain since Curtis first joined the CHHS staff in 1999. Curtis said Walden and senior holding mid Kyle Cocowitch have been supplying good leadership, along with newcomer Duncan Davis.
Davis, who played with a club instead of varsity ball last year, has been a pleasant surprise, Curtis said.
“He’s a complete player,” Curtis said. “He’s really technically advanced for a high school player.”
All three players are helping others meet new responsibilities, he said.
“We have a lot of players who are still getting comfortable with their roles,” Curtis said. “We’ll continue to get better from here on out.”