Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Clayton falls in fourth round

3 min read

By Laieke Abebe

WJG SPORTS SPORTS CONTRIBUTOR

A historic season for the Clayton boys soccer team has come to an end.

The fourth-seeded Comets fell to top-seeded Jacksonville 3-0 on the road in the 3-A soccer playoffs. It’s the Cardinals first regional final appearance since 2014.

“It’s a game of inches,” Comets head coach John Asmussen said about his teams performance. “I thought we played a really good first half limiting them to only one scoring chance. Unfortunately, they were able to convert that and add two set piece goals in the second half.”

Jacksonville (20-1-1) got their opening goal with 18 minutes left in the first half. Senior forward Jack Spaid scored off a ball played by David Newsham across the six-yard box. Spaid would assist senior midfielder Phillip Speed 96 seconds into the second half to make it 2-0. The two would link up again with 11 minutes left to put the game away.

Clayton was aggressive early in the match. A shot by senior Thomas Williams hit the crossbar midway through the first half, but the ball didn’t cross the line. They had a couple more chances in the last 40 minutes and couldn’t capitalize on those opportunities.

“It looked like (Clayton) wanted it more in the first half,” Cardinals head coach David Miller said. “They deserve a lot of credit for fighting hard, but we responded well in the second half.”

Clayton finished their season with an 18-6-2 record, but had a stellar 2019 campaign. The Comets went the furthest any boys soccer team in school history has ever advanced in the playoffs (fourth round). They’ve played one of the tougher schedules in the WJG coverage area this season including facing two opponents that will face each other in a regional championship game. 

“We’ve played a tough schedule,” Asmussen added. “It definitely helped us get this far especially with what the 4-A East regional final is (Wake Forest vs. Holly Springs). We played both of them, got a draw against one, and a victory over the other.”

Coach Asmussen loses 13 seniors off of this years team to graduation. However, with a good group of underclassmen, the future of Comets boys soccer is really bright. They’re hoping that a solid offseason will put them in position to make another playoff run.

“I think my returning group knows what it takes now,” Asmussen said about next seasons expectations. “We’re definitely going to miss this years seniors because they’ve made a great impact on this program. Hopefully, our underclassmen will take the advice they’ve learned from this group and implement that into a great 2020 season.”

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