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WCHS soccer gears up for 2008 playoffs

Posted Wednesday, June 03, 2009 by New Bern Sun Journal

Local soccer teams gear up for playoffs

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Sun Journal

West Craven at D.H. Conley

The West Craven soccer team started out as a junior varsity squad four year ago. And prior to this season, the Eagles had earned just a single win in two years of varsity competition.

On Monday, West Craven coach Aaron Steele announced to his players they were headed to the playoffs for the first time in the program's history.

The Eagles dropped a 1-0 decision to Havelock on Thursday, which put their playoff hopes in question. They were granted a wild card on Monday.

"It was a definite 180 just to hear we are in the playoffs," Steele said. "I told them on Thursday we'd have practice just in case, and the heads were down, still thinking about what happened on Wednesday. Hearing the news that we got in and seeing their faces light up was exciting. Those guys worked hard for this and it was something they deserved."

On Wednesday, the Eagles will square off with a familiar opponent - D.H. Conley (11-7-1). The Eagles lost to the Vikings twice this year. In the last meeting between the teams on Oct. 20, the score was tied at 2 at halftime, before Conley surged in the second half for a 4-2 win.

"They are a great challenge," Steele said. "It is certainly a nice thing to walk into a game where you just played them recently. I told the guys that it is a familiar foe, so we at least know what is coming at us."

Seniors Mike Saul and Dustin Steele will try to prevent Wednesday from being their final game, while a group of talented underclassmen attempt to overcome the pressure of playing in a new atmosphere.

"We are a young team, so I don't want to put pressure into their heads," Steele said. "Young teams don't really handle pressure that well. I do want them to focus. I don't want them to just be happy we are here. We exceeded expectations, but we need to play like we want to make it to the next round."

Kickoff in Greenville is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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