Reynolds soccer coach Patrick Gladys could not have been less enamored with his team’s play in a 4-0 loss to Roberson on Oct. 10.
Monday’s rematch was an improvement in every department, minus the result.
Ben Chapel’s second goal on Senior Night came 4 minutes, 13 seconds into overtime to give the undefeated Rams a 2-1 home win at Ensley Stadium.
Chapel, a forward who has 15 goals for the season, also scored with 35:43 to go in regulation.
“I’m happy for Ben. He works hard and was in the right places at the right time tonight,” Roberson coach Rob Wilcher said.
Technically, pride was the biggest thing at stake Monday. The Mountain Athletic Conference officially recognizes a 3-A and 4-A champion in every sport.
The Rams (20-0-2, 11-0-0) have already clinched the MAC 4-A title and are fourth in this week’s N.C. Soccer Coaches Association 4-A poll. The Rockets (17-5-0, 9-2-0) are No. 6 among statewide 3-A teams and this season’s MAC 3-A champs.
The win clinched the unofficial outright MAC title for Roberson.
Coming into the rivalry game, the Rams had outscored MAC opponents, 55-2, including a decisive shutout earlier this month at Reynolds that Gladys called “an absolute embarrassment” at the time.
“We definitely played with a lot more spirit tonight,” Gladys said.
“We threw everything we had at them. They’re a great team, one of the best Roberson teams I’ve seen in a long time.”
Roberson honored its 13 seniors prior to their next-to-last MAC game – Chapel, Brando Galeana, Juan Garcia, Grant Hiriak, Jonah Hodes, Anthony O’Brien, Kevin Rhash, Jon Sewell, Martin Silva, Austin Stamey, Tyler Tison, Andrew Webb and Cam Wood.
Stamey (Appalachian State) and Wood (VMI) have already committed to play in college. Stamey set up the winning goal Monday. The 2012 Citizen-Times All-WNC Player of the Year was tackled cleanly inside the box, but managed to send the ball over to Chapel.
Roberson controlled possession in the first half, but neither team was able to score in the first 40 minutes.
The Rams were ahead in shots at the midway point, 11-7, and finished with a 23-16 advantage. Their goalkeeper, Rhash, made five saves. Eric Lenhart had 20 for the Rockets.
Chapel finally got Roberson on the board, shooting from about 10 yards out in the second half. Less than eight minutes later, Reynolds answered when Teagen Stalte popped up a high shot.