Seahawks routed by Voyager in second round

Published 7:39 pm Saturday, November 4, 2017

CHOCOWINITY — Saturday was the matchup Southside had been working toward all season. After being knocked out by Voyager Academy in a 2-1 loss at home in the first round last year, the Seahawks regrouped and won their first-ever conference championship to set up a rematch.

The Vikings once again rolled into Chocowinity, this time romping the Seahawks 6-0 to send them packing. It was a tough pill to swallow for a team that had been working toward this game all season.

“This hurts pretty bad. We felt like we had a pretty good team,” Southside coach Jay Petty said. “We just started slow tonight. It might have been a little different. We played a pretty good second half. We just couldn’t get out of our way in the first half. They just seemed to control everything.

“They’ve got a good team. I’ll give them that. I feel like they’re a better team than they were last year.”

Unlike last year, which was a goaltending duel until late in the first half, Voyager jumped out to a 1-0 lead after just three minutes. Senior Devin Mitchell capitalized on a flat start by Southside.

Max Leonard, the Vikings’ second-leading goal scorer, buried two to push Voyager’s lead to 3-0 by the 22nd minute. The quick deficit put the Seahawks on their heels. Their offense became more hurried as the deficit grew, which only played into the hand of the tight defense fielded by the visitors.

Voyager looked even more fluid than the team that visited Chocowinity a year ago. The Vikings had soft touches and used pinpoint accuracy to dominate possession throughout the game.

“That was the key,” Petty said. “I told them at the beginning of the game that we were going to have to win possession and we did not do that. … They moved the ball very well. It looks like those boys have been playing together for a long time.”

Vikings coach Charles Robinson added: “We practice it a lot. We make sure that a key component of practice every time is passing, passing, passing. But these guys have also been playing together for years. We try to build a family atmosphere at our school, and they truly play as a unit.”

Petty and the Seahawks took solace in making Voyager work for its goals in the second half. Spencer Chwalik, who entered the game with a team-best 38 goals, extended his side’s advantage to 4-0 in the 51st minute. He watched a ball lobbed over Southside’s defense and headed it into a wide-open gap on the far side of the net.

Mitchell netted the fifth goal for Voyager when he got a foot on a cross in from the right side of the penalty area. Chwalik notched his 40th of the season and final of the game when he put home a rebound after a diving save by Southside goalkeeper Johan Prado.

The end if far from what Southside desired from this postseason. However, the Seahawks made program history by winning the 1-A Coastal Plains Conference. Petty knows that the program won’t be built into a dominant force in a season or two.

It’s one step at a time.