Southside makes history

Published 10:26 pm Wednesday, October 29, 2014

DAVID CUCCHIARA | DAILY NEWS ETCHED INTO HISTORY: Fabian Ramirez attempts to chip a cross past a lunging defender in the first half of Wednesday’s first round matchup in Williamston.

ETCHED INTO HISTORY: Fabian Ramirez attempts to chip a cross past a lunging defender in the first half of Wednesday’s first round matchup in Williamston.

Seahawks win first playoff game in team history

WILLIAMSTON — Two well-timed strikes from Devin Guzman proved to be the difference in a historic 3-1 victory over Riverside Wednesday night.

The postseason win marked the first in team history for the Southside soccer program, a feat head coach John Lohman has spent the last seven years working towards.

“I’ve had good teams before and we’ve had to play some smokin’ good teams in the first round,” he said. “To be able to come in and play a team a little more up to your speed and come out with a win is great.”

The Seahawks, the No. 18 seed in the 1-A bracket, spread the field with a steady dose of long balls and slip passes, frustrating a No. 15-seeded Knights team that failed to record a win in the regular season. Even with both teams splitting possession, Southside had the upper hand in creating scoring opportunities, outshooting the Knights 29-11 through 80 minutes.

Six of those shots came in the first 10 minutes of the contest, as Jesse Lohman, Guzman, Fabian Ramirez and Agustin Garcia pressed the opposition’s defense, employing a series of give-and-go routes and through balls. However, the Knights held their ground and even created a few chances of their own in the first half, until Ramirez led a break up field and located Guzman 10-yards out with a cross. Guzman wouldn’t miss, slipping a shot past a lunging keeper and giving Southside its first playoff goal in 2014.

But it was a lead that would hold for a mere two minutes, as Riverside began pummeling shots on net. One, a rocket from the 35-yard line, slipped between the keeper’s outstretched hand and the right corner of the frame, tying the game. Both teams clearly exhausted through the final minutes of the first half, the midfield broke down, as Seahawks and Knights strikers took advantage with a slew of shots, although none would cross the goal line.

“At moments we were good. In the first half we were definitely dominating, but there was a let down with about 10 minutes to go,” Lohman said. “Then, we came out in the second half and we were flat. After we got back on the field for 10 minutes, we definitely started to pick the pace up.”

Once Southside found its rhythm, holes in the Riverside defense began to emerge. Cruz capitalized on a cross to Garcia, who headed the ball right at the goalie. The keeper got a hand on it, but the redirection went right to Cruz, who found Guzman breaking towards the net. The Seahawks’ forward received the cross and toed a shot past the goalie to reclaim the lead for Southside.

“Tonight might be Devon’s best performance of the season to be honest with you,” Lohman said. “There were moments he decided to walk, but he’s faster than almost everyone on the field when he decides to turn it on. When he goes, he’s hard to contain.”

Then, with 11 minutes to go in the half, Caleb Petty slid a pass to Garcia and the Seahawks midfielder put the game away with a well-placed shot.

With the win, Southside earns a matchup with No. 2-seeded Manteo in the second round of the 1-A state playoffs. The Redskins, under head coach Curtis Price, are 17-2-1 this season and fresh off a 7-0 win over Cape Hatteras in the first round.

Allison Tallcott, an instrumental piece to the Seahawks midfield who suffered an ankle injury in a game against Bear Grass earlier in the month, is questionable for the match.