Seahawks bounced from the playoffs

Published 4:47 pm Saturday, November 5, 2016

CHOCOWINITY — Southside’s season came to an end at home Saturday afternoon. Max Leonard scored 10 minutes into the second half to lift Voyager Academy to a 2-1 victory in the first round of the playoffs.

Tied 1-1, senior Viking midfielder Alex Green drove down the right wing on the counterattack to create the game-winning play that Leonard put away.

“I felt like we knew we had the capabilities to come back. We were just sputtering,” Seahawks coach Jay Petty said. “We just couldn’t get out of our own way. It seemed like everything kept going against us in terms of touches, positioning, and just sometimes how the ball falls.”

Southside had a strong showing in the first 20 minutes of the game, but struggled from there on out. Voyager’s back line was impenetrable for most of the contest. The Vikings were smooth on their touches, and their defense made hardly any mistakes.

“I’m still trying to figure that one out. I’m going to go back and watch the video,” Petty said. “I don’t know if we were out of sync because it’s a Saturday, or if we were out of sync because it’s the playoffs. I’m just not sure why we were out of sync.

“We seemed to start O.K. for the first 20, but from there, everything just fizzled for us. I don’t know what the deal was.”

The first half was a defensive duel. Devin Guzman tested Viking goalkeeper Hunter Miller with a shot in the fifth minute. Voyager quickly responded on a counterattack, but freshman Seahawks keeper Johan Prado made the initial stop and saved a shot off the rebound, too.

Miller and Prado went back and forth, but the final minute was anything but the defensive standoff the first 39 had been. Luke Matthews broke in behind Voyager’s defense and nicked the ball past Miller for the game’s first goal.

The Seahawks wouldn’t take a lead into halftime, though. A shot into the top-right corner just barely beat Prado’s fingertips. With that, Voyager had the equalizer with just six seconds left.

“I think that was the game swinger right there,” Petty said. “I think us getting the first goal was a momentum builder, but then turning around and them getting the second goal right back after it just completely depleted us at halftime.

“If we had been able to keep the one-goal lead at halftime, I think I would have been able to give a different halftime speech — not have to focus on the negative things we were struggling with.”

While Prado gave up the game winner in the second half, he made more than enough saves to keep Southside in it. The offense just couldn’t muster much in the latter 40 minutes.

Senior defender and team captain David Romero jumps up into the play. He spearheaded Southside’s late push to tie the game.

Senior defender and team captain David Romero jumps up into the play. He spearheaded Southside’s late push to tie the game.

The Seahawks did have some chances as they made a late push to tie the game. David Romero fed Guzman in the middle of the box, but his shot sailed just north of the goal. A flurry over the last few minutes came and went, and Southside was ousted from the playoffs.

Romero, Daniel Lopez, Fabian Ramirez and Ethan Harris all played their last game for Southside. Petty spoke to them briefly after the game, mostly to thank them for their leadership. They were each instrumental to Southside’s spectacular 14-5-1 season.

“I just thanked them,” Petty said. “Their leadership this year has been invaluable. They’ve worked their tails off. They’ve led not just with their mouths, (but) they led by example. … I just thanked them for all they’ve done this year.”