It was a cool, crisp 50 degrees at Georgia Soccer Park at 8 a.m., as teams began to arrive for 2016 High School Southern Regional Championships
. With 16 boys’ teams gunning for the title, tensions were high as teams began their drills. As the temperature rose, and the weather changed, many hoped to break their seed, while others hoped to hold on.
Carolina Friends School played well and showed how they managed to earn, and hold on to, their first seed. Eighth seed Carrboro High School, however, started the day with an upsetting loss to 13th seed Blackman High School in a point-for-point battle to halftime, with both Yuma Kobayashi and Dean Merritt showing their defensive chops with an unexpected interception and block. Blackman pulled through after half, with senior Grant Waldron gaining five assists for the game. Carrboro’s loss caused them to end the day by dropping seed due to point differential. Blackman lost to fourth seed Yorktown in a crossover game, but the team left the fields in high spirits from well-played games. Washington-Lee benefitted from the point differential and won against Catholic High School in their crossover game, putting the 12th seed into a tough game tomorrow morning against second-seeded Paideia.
Second seed Paideia swept their pool, with their hardest game coming against 11th seed University School of Nashville. Described by spectators as a "friendly rivalry," the two teams have come head to head on more than one occasion. But the comment rings true, as the game was played cleanly, with no illicit calls. USN started strong, with an impressive block from Nicky Farren, but soon lost a break. Their offensive defense continued to impress, as they were quick to move after a turnover and made Paideia work for every point. After a bye, the USN boys put their defense to work against seventh seed Cardinal Gibbons, shutting down the Crusaders’ offense and racking up points to take half at 7-1. Cardinal Gibbons began to risk throws as the pressure to score increased, causing some unlucky turnovers that allowed USN to take the game. Their win over Independence in their crossover puts them up against top-seeded Carolina Friends in the championship bracket tomorrow morning. Cardinal Gibbons will go on to try to secure 9th place. Bethesda-Chevy Chase had an unfortunate run of luck in this pool, as the 14th seed was unable to move ranks. Their game showed some difficulty playing through the windy conditions they faced today, as their handlers lost their hucks to sudden gusts. With more wind on the schedule for tomorrow, BCC will have to holster their deep shots and try for the short passes.
As the only pool with no upset, the game to watch was the close match between third seed East Chapel Hill and sixth seed HB Woodlawn.
Both teams had two wins behind them when they entered their third game of the day, and it was one of their hardest fought. With the teams tied at 6-6 an hour into the game, the dream team for Woodlawn stepped up – Adam Norrbom threw to Austin Alvarado to take it to half. After another grueling few points, the hard cap went on as the teams reached 8-8. On double-game point, Woodlawn lost to East Chapel Hill, but it was a well-played game. Independence and Lakeside both kept their seeds with games that were again dependent on the mood of the wind. Fifteenth seed Lakeside gave HB Woodlawn a run for their money as they used the wind to their advantage whenever they could to force a turnover. Meanwhile, 10th seed Independence came back from a 3-8 deficit against East Chapel Hill, forcing their opponents to stay focused, before finally falling 7-10.
Pool D had several upsets, with North Carolina School of Science and Math losing on double-game point to Yorktown. After losing a player to injury against Yorktown and with no bye in sight, NCSSM went on to play Grady. The teams traded points before Grady finally took the lead. With their players exhausted, NCSSM fell to 16th-seeded Catholic High School. A notable catch was made by Catholic senior Michael Delatte who managed to snatch the disc before NCSSM’s Jeffrey He could get his hands on it. Meanwhile, fifth seed Grady earned an upset over fourth seed Yorktown, in a 10-7 defensive showdown. Grady’s cutters have their offensive defense on point, as they continued to intercept disc after disc. Grady took half at 7-2 and then closed out the game. The defeat caused Yorktown to play 13th seed Blackman in a crossover game that they won 7-4, meaning they will face third-seeded East Chapel Hill tomorrow while Catholic faces Bethesda-Chevy Chase in the 9th-place bracket.