Madison Academic took control from the opening whistle in its Region 8 A-AA soccer semifinal match with Raleigh-Egypt and did not let up until the end as the Mustangs came out victorious 7-0 at Union on Tuesday.
Madison (15-4-2) has had a tendency all season to start matches slowly and then get better as the match goes on, so the team made it a point of emphasis at practice to not do that in the postseason.
“We honestly did not know what to expect from them [Raleigh-Egypt],” said Madison coach Jacob Long. “So I told my players to control the game right from the start, possess the ball and use the space.”
The Mustangs will play Sheffield on Thursday night at Union University in the Region 8 A-AA final.
Madison’s success was a result of all 11 players playing as a unit, passing the ball around the field at times as if there was no opponent. The Mustangs seem to be playing their best soccer at the right time.
“I believe it is important to peak at the right time. You do not want to hit your peak too early,” said senior co-captain J.P. Hodges. “We are really peaking at the right time. Our ball possession and finishing is better than it has been all season.”
Jonathan Timby led the Mustangs’ powerful scoring attack on the night with three goals and an assist. Nick Bezold contributed two goals to the win.
Madison midfielder Adam Joyner had a goal off a header from a Bryan Ramirez corner in the first half, and then got an assist two minutes later by threading a pass through the defense, leading to Timby’s second goal.
Ramirez scored the most spectacular goal of the night as he made a diving header on a Timby cross, hitting the inside of the post and rolling into the goal for Madison’s fifth score.
“Our expectations for this season were to get back to state and do better than we did last year,” Long said. “We want to win it — not just go to state.”