The opening goal will be talked about for a while. The title will last forever.
Green Hope claimed the fourth annual Wake County Cup boys soccer championship on Saturday with a 4-1 victory against Broughton in a title tilt hosted by Cardinal Gibbons. Both perennial powers were making their first appearance in the title match.
Green Hope (13-1) started the scoring with Camden Holbrook’s 19th-minute wonder goal, worthy of an FA or U.S. Open Cup final.
While making a contested run down the far left flank, Holbrook half-volleyed the ball rather than try to control it. A bending strike whipped into the far netting from 25 yards out and an almost 45-degree angle, leaving Broughton (8-2-1) shocked.
“I saw that I had like two or three defenders on me, so even if I had stopped the ball there wasn’t much I could do, so I was like why not?” Holbrook said.
Added Green Hope coach David Corsbie: “How many people are aware of that opportunity even existing? And then the skill ability to make it happen. Those things aren’t average.”
Even Broughton coach Craig Brannon was impressed.
“That was an amazing shot. You’ve got to give him credit. That’s a championship goal right there,” Brannon said. “We knew coming in that guy had a bunch of goals and we know why now.”
Just before halftime, Green Hope got a free kick just outside the box after the Broughton keeper stepped over the 18-yard-box while handling the ball and Connor Munz made it count.
Munz’s first strike went into the Caps’ wall but it kicked back to him. He slotted in the rebound with 18 seconds before halftime for a 2-0 lead.
Broughton – even without two of its top players, Edson Candela-Perez and Bryce Meredith, who were playing in a regional club match – was still very much in the game, however, and answered quickly in the second half on a 43rd-minute header flicked in by Donovan Nicholson off a free kick from Jacob Hill.
Nicholson’s redirection into the side netting also looked like something from a professional contest.
But after a Broughton corner kick missed its mark, it jumpstarted a Green Hope counter. A header from Anthony Boswell in the 59th off a short cross from Munz put the game out of reach for good.
Broughton pushed players forward, and Green Hope scored once more as Matt Mueller finished at the back post on a low cross from Boswell.
“All we did yesterday (in practice) was counterattack, counterattack, counterattack,” Corsbie said. “As a coach, you don’t know if it’s going to translate over to the game, but you hope it does.”
Brannon said Broughton will learn a lot from the game, but was proud of his team’s start-to-finish efforts.
It may not be the last time these two teams see each other this year.
“One of our issues has been having good rhythm in the attack, and you notice the way (Green Hope) played, they got really good rhythm in possession and moved that ball around. It never looks frantic. It always looks like they’re calm on the ball,” Brannon said. “And sometimes when we get opportunities, we go a little too quick. And sometimes when you go too quick, it’s hard to execute because you’re rushing or pressing.”
Previous Wake County Cup titles
2015: Apex 3, Cardinal Gibbons 0
2014: Cardinal Gibbons 5, Sanderson 0
2013: Apex 2, Sanderson 1