Cuthbertson boys soccer advances to first state final

With a 2-1 overtime win over Newton-Conover on Tuesday, Nov. 13, the Cuthbertson boys soccer team advanced to its first state championship game, where the Cavs will face Carrboro in the Class 2A finals.

Newton-Conover actually jumped out to a 1-0 lead before Cuthbertson’s Obi Collins found Thomas Vigdor for the game-tying goal. In overtime, Bailey Thomas scored the game-winner on a free kick to send the Cavs to the finals.

Cuthbertson coach Nelson Garner pointed to a postseason filled with close games, which he said prepared his team for the pressure-packed regional final.

“It was another thrilling game,” Garner said. “We’ve had quite a few of those here in the playoffs. Aside from the first-round game (a 5-1 win over Atkins), they’ve all been in doubt until the last minute.”

Now, with one game to go, Garner is hoping his team continues to take all the success, and its current situation, in stride.

“(The players have) been extremely good at dealing with this (success), better then I could’ve expected,” Garner said. “They’ve managed to stay, through the playoffs, very focused but very relaxed. It’s a trait I haven’t really seen in any of my previous (boys) teams.

“Sometimes the moment will get to them a little bit, but this group has a unique ability to do that without losing focus. I’m expecting them to prepare hard this week and be focused when we train but not let the moment get too big. But (I want them to) enjoy the moment, too.

“You never know when you’ll get back (to the state championship game), so you want to enjoy the ride.”

The Cavs improved their record to 22-3-1 with the win over Newton-Conover, and they haven’t lost a game since a Sept. 19 defeat to Central Academy of Technology & Arts. The Cavs are 13-0-1 in that stretch.

The Class 2A boys soccer state finals are slated for Saturday, Nov. 17, at 8 p.m. at N.C. State University.

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