Myers Park Wins 4A Crown in Barn Burner

RALEIGH, N.C. --- Charlotte Myers Park built a big lead and then held off a furious rally to edge Wilmington New Hanover 4-3 in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state 4-A men's soccer championship on a chilly Monday night at the Curtis and Jackie Dail Soccer Stadium at N.C. State University.

Myers Park led 2-1 at the half and pushed the lead to 4-1 before the Wildcats came roaring back in a game that featured four goals within a seven-minute span in the waning minutes. The win completed a perfect 25-0 season for the Mustangs.

Senior midfielder Justin Davis, the Southwestern 4-A Conference Player of the Year who opened the scoring for the Mustangs in the 25th minute, was named Most Valuable Player of the championship. Davis Carter had the first of his two assists on the Davis goal, which tied the game after Parker Antis had put New Hanover on top 1-0.

Myers Park grabbed a 2-1 lead before halftime on a tally by Brenden Kelley with the assist to Ruben Perez. Then the Mustangs pushed the margin to 4-1 on goals by Casey Caronis and Patrick Lipps in the space of about a minute and looked to be in command.

But the Wildcats' C.J. Pennock found the back of the net on an assist from Gentry Johnson in the 75th minute and then two minutes later junior midfielder Ross Tomaselli of New Hanover cut the lead to 4-3. But Myers Park held off New Hanover the rest of the way.

Both schools were seeking their initial NCHSAA men's soccer championship. New Hanover made its first trip to the final while Myers Park was in the championship match for the third time, with runner-up finishes in 1988 and 2003.

New Hanover finished the season with a record of 24-2-1, but had recorded 16 victories and a tie in a 17-game stretch prior to the championship, since a loss to 3-A finalist Jacksonville at midseason.

Wendy's is the presenting sponsor of the NCHSAA sports program. The Raleigh Sports Consortium serves as a host city sponsor for these championships, along with the city of Raleigh and the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors' Bureau.

Charlotte Myers Park 2 2 -- 4
Wilmington New Hanover 1 2 -- 3

12th minute NH - Parker Antis (Ross Tomaselli).
25th minute MP - Justin Davis (Davis Carter).
37th minute MP - Brenden Kelley (Ruben Perez).
70th minute MP - Casey Caronis (Davis Carter).
71st minute MP - Patrick Lipps (Eric Suarez).
75th minute NH - C.J. Pennock (Gentry Johnson).
77th minute NH - Ross Tomaselli.

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