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High School Boys' Soccer | Woods Charter rallies in 2nd half to stun Edenton | w/Video

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John A. Holmes' Jonathan Bermudez (10) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Woods Charter in the first round of the NCHSAA Class 1A boys' soccer state playoff match, Wednesday at Purser Soccer Complex in Edenton.

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By Malcolm Shields
Sports Editor

Friday, November 8, 2019

EDENTON — The John A. Holmes High School boys’ soccer team lost to Woods Charter 3-2 Wednesday night in the first round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Class 1A state playoffs at the Purser Soccer Complex.

Holmes (13-8-1), the No. 15 seed in the East Regional, got off to a fast start.

Edenton’s Jonathan Bermudez was able to deposit the ball into the net past Woods Charter goalkeeper Coyt Neagle to give the Aces a 1-0 lead nearly five minutes into the match.

Holmes’ Loghan Wagner assisted on the goal.

No. 18 seed Woods Charter (11-8) had several opportunities in the first half to tie the match, but the Aces cleared the ball out of their end, got a save from goalkeeper Jacob Colon or a Woods Charter shot on goal was off the mark.

Colon, a junior, finished the match with 12 saves.

Holmes took a 1-0 lead into halftime.

Woods Charter and its striker Kyle Howarth would break through against the Holmes defense in the second half.

In the 45th minute, Howarth took the ball inside the 18-yard box towards the goal and was able to beat Colon to the near side of the goal post to tie the match at 1-1.

The Aces would counter minutes later.

On a free kick by senior defender Ryan White from just inside the Woods Charter defensive end near midfield, he would send the ball into the 18-yard box.

Holmes senior striker Marsel Zidan was able to corral the ball, which initially hit off the chest of Neagle, and kicked the ball into the net to give the Aces a 2-1 lead in the 53rd minute.

White was credited with an assist on the goal.

John A. Holmes head coach Thomas Di Martino noted that the team has worked on set pieces during the last week in practice.

“I’m pleased that we were able to convert that,” he said.

A span of two minutes would change the fortunes of the game.

A Holmes defender was called for a foul inside the 18-yard box, which led to a Woods Charter penalty kick.

On the penalty kick, Howarth kicked the ball to the left of a diving Colon and into the goal to tie the match 2-2 in the 66th minute.

Moments later, Howarth would score his third goal of the match on a ball that was served near the goal by Woods Charter’s Eric Bode.

Howarth’s initial header attempt failed, but the Aces could not get the ball away from their goal.

Howarth was able to get the loose ball and kicked the ball into the goal.

Howarth’s goal in the 68th minute gave Woods Charter its first lead at 3-2.

Holmes had a few chances to score late, but was unable to convert.

Woods Charter ran off time late in the match by keeping the ball in the corner in Edenton’s defensive end.

“I’m pleased with how they did the whole 80 minutes,” Di Martino said. “That’s a good team that we were playing. Our kids have come a long, long way; made a lot of progress. We could have won this game. It was a flip of a coin.”

Di Martino added that there were a lot of quick counters by both teams in the match.

The Holmes coach added that Woods Charter is a team that plays in one of the more tougher conferences — the Central Tar Hell Conference — in Class 1A.

Di Martino was pleased with the effort the Aces displayed in the match.

Woods Charter advances to the second round of the state playoffs and will face No. 2 seed Granville Central.

The Aces end their season with an appearance in the state playoffs for the fourth consecutive season along with a third-place finish in the Albemarle Athletic Conference during the regular season.

The match was the second time in three seasons Edenton hosted a state-playoff match at the Purser Soccer Complex.

Wednesday’s match marked the end of the high school boys’ soccer careers of nearly 10 seniors on the John A. Holmes team.

That includes Zidan, who led the Aces in goals this season, along with defenders White, Jake Bass and Parker Clayton.

Di Martino noted that before he took over the high school program in 2016, he coached some of the seniors on the team when they were in middle school.

The coach has seen the growth of the team in terms of understanding the details of the game.

“It’s been fantastic,” Di Martino said. “The program has come a long, long way. We had a great season.”

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