Soccer Beats Crusaders, Advances to State Championship


Green Hope Athletics

The Green Hope Men’s Soccer Team

Patrick Dunn, Sports Writer

On Tuesday, November 14th, the Green Hope Men’s soccer team punched their ticket to the state championship. The Falcons played a hard fought game against the Crusaders from Cardinal Gibbons High School. The Crusaders knocked the Falcons out of the playoffs last year, and this year the Falcons got their revenge.

The game was back and forth throughout. Gibbons took the lead early squeezing a goal past keeper Matt Hayes. The Falcons answered before the first half ended on an impressive goal from senior captain Colin O’Brien. In the second half, the Crusaders took back the lead on a free kick from just outside the box. Not long after that, senior striker Dylan Enseling scored a goal to tie the game at two scores apiece. The Falcons did a good job of being patient with their offensive build up all game. Finally, with 20 minutes left to go in the game, senior Alex Penel scored a fantastic goal to take the lead. The last 20 minutes were nerve racking for everyone, as the Crusaders had a plethora of opportunities to tie the game back up. “I was so nervous at the end there”, said Matt Hayes. Gibbons took a handful of corner kicks looking to score, but to no avail. Hayes and the Falcons defense made some impressive plays to hold off the attack. The Crusaders took one last shot with 6 seconds on the clock in desperation, but it was easily saved by Hayes to end the game.

“Scoring the goal on my birthday was special, it was fun,” said Alex Penel. “Winning was nice, but it won’t mean anything if we don’t win the state championship on Saturday.”

Perhaps the most impressive effort last night was put forth by junior Sam Cooper. Cooper controlled the midfield throughout the game. Cooper played a physical, hard fought match. Despite earning himself a yellow card right before the first half came to an end, Cooper finished the match strong. He made a big stop late in the game against a Gibbons player on a breakaway.

The Falcons take on Myers Park in the state championship game on Saturday. Myers Park is a school in Charlotte who went 20-2 this season. Green Hope is looking forward to this game. “We are going to come out hard, and we want to win”, said Penel. The game will be played at NC State University and the time is to be determined. Be sure to show up and cheer on your Falcons on Saturday! Bring your friends!