Magic carpet ride comes to an end: West Forsyth loses in second round of playoffs Thursday night to end previously unbeaten season
Published 12:54 am Saturday, November 4, 2023
For the Clemmons Courier
The West Forsyth boys soccer team had a dream season. However, it came up short of its goal of winning the state championship.
No. 2-seeded West Forsyth was 20-0-2 after having just defeated No. 31 Charlotte Independence in the first round of the NCHSAA Class 4-A state playoffs this past Monday. Then, West Forsyth played host to No. 18 Charlotte Independence Thursday night in the second round of the playoffs.
Independence scored the last three goals of the game, winning 3-1, ending West Forsyth’s season.
“If there was a scale of 1 to 10, I have no idea (how to feel),” Coach Jeffrey Williams of West Forsyth said. “I can’t quite digest it all this close to the time it happened. I had hoped to be playing for a state championship, but I knew that the road is difficult, and everybody’s good in 4-A.”
There is so much parity in soccer within North Carolina.
“I’ve said this a number of years, but there’s anywhere from 10 to 20 teams probably in 4-A that could win it all,” Williams said. “It depends on a lot of factors. And I definitely think we were part of that group this year, maybe even a better shot than we’ve had in all the years past.”
Things were looking good for the Titans after Abiel Lopez-Dominguez scored in the first minute of the game to take a 1-0 lead. However, the Patriots (18-4-2) scored the final three goals of the game.
“Both teams had chances throughout the game,” Williams said. “And we had as many or more chances than Independence. And they buried their chances, and we did not.”
A coach always wants to take the lead, but sometimes it’s not good if you score too early.
“Sometimes you get too relaxed,” Williams said. “But there’s a lot of factors into when you score a goal, how you score a goal, how the other team thinks, like there’s a lot of factors in that. But I didn’t think we had a huge let off after that. It’s a playoff game. You’re here for 80 minutes and they’re here for 80 minutes. And we were us capable of scoring early.”
According to Williams, Independence scored its first goal off a penalty kick midway through the first half. And its second goal came about midway through the second half to take a 2-1 lead. The final goal came with about 5 minutes left in the game.
“Sometimes it’s forced some things and maybe trying to do too much individually,” Williams said. “There’s definitely some of that, but we’ve been down before this year a couple of times, and yes, we could’ve done better in different things, but we had several chances in the last 20 minutes – several very good chances – and just were not able to capitalize, whether we hit it wide or the goalie made a great save, or the small things.”
Williams said that the Patriots switched formations, which changed the flow of the game.
“It took away some of our attacking options, but it gave us other ones,” Williams said. “They obviously knew us from – Providence is in their conference, and they obviously talked to Providence. Everybody, at this point in the year, handles modern technology. Everybody has seen everybody else play.
“And we were still effective in what we do and how we do it. We made a couple mistakes, and they scored a couple goals.”
According to MaxPreps.com, Independence played Providence twice this season, and it was a season split.
“Independence hasn’t lost in I think 12 games,” Williams said. “They’re unbeaten in their last 12 games. They’ve played quality opponents. They were a quality team. We were a quality team. Yeah, both teams could’ve done something maybe a little different and changed some things, but their goalie made three or four fantastic saves against us.
“We did not play poorly. And it’s unfortunate that it came down to that. The game at halftime could’ve gone either way.”
No higher-seeded team wants an early exit. So, the loss Thursday night was a tough pill to swallow.
“You also have to look at it as you’re doing your best and you’re adding information, and you have building relationships with teenage boys and mentored them,” Williams said. “And you’ve, like in any part of anybody’s life you can look back and say, ‘Maybe I could’ve done this differently.’ You don’t know what the outcome would’ve been. And you obviously have more information in the future than you have right now.”
The teams have grown from all these experiences.
“So, while I do not at all think it’s, because I’ve done this for a while that I’ve just become complacent.” Williams said. “I think it’s become more of a maturity to me as a coach just to know I’ve tried my best and the kids have tried their best, and we obviously gained more knowledge, and more skill sets and developed more in the offseason. But if you live by, it’s never good enough, like that motivates you and such, but also, but you have to know you’ve done the best you can.”
It was still tough for the eight seniors and the rest of the team after Thursday’s loss in the second round of the NCHSAA Class 4-A playoffs after having such a successful season.
“Each and every senior has got a different way with the way they cope with different things,” Williams said. “And there was a lot of tears (Thursday) night. There was a lot of praise for the program and what these seniors have done, and what they’ve meant to the program, but also how they guide the future seniors, the future people.”