Blue Ridge Early College varsity soccer team took down Hayesville 2-1 at home on Monday earning the Bobcats the title of conference champions. This is the first senior class at Blue Ridge to have won two conference championships in their high school career, and it happened to be Senior Night. Blue Ridge Head Coach Nick Pressler said his team knew what had to be done and executed the plan against a challenging team.
“Those guys are skilled,” said Pressler. “They have two kids that play really well up front, but our kids persevered, like they have all season. Our guys up front put the ball in the net when we had the chance.”
Both of Blue Ridge’s goals were scored in the first half, and thanks to solid defensive play from players like Kaleb Fugate, Alexis Helvert, Luke Breedlove, Jacob Pressler, Korbin Walters and Taylor Colton, only one goal was allowed during the second half.
“It feels pretty great,” said Fugate. “It’s indescribable. They (Hayesville) were really quick, one guy was super-fast (Hayesville #7 Justin Race). We forced him left, got back on defense and covered midfield, now were number one in conference.”
Sophomore Alexis Hervert took a ball to the face in brisk weather but carried on without missing a beat.
“This is freaking amazing,” said Hervert. “This is my sophomore year and this accomplishment is something really big. There were some tempers and a lot of fouls, and almost a big fight, but it’s amazing.”
Junior Luke Breedlove agreed that it was a challenge shutting down Hayesville’s speed, but said overall he proud of the way they played.
“This feels great, it’s never happened to me before,” said Breedlove. “I think we did pretty well on defense even though they were really fast.
After earning the conference championship, four Blue Ridge Seniors were honored for four years of athletics at Blue Ridge Early College. The athletic careers of seniors Carter Ferrin, Levi Taylor, Noah Pressler and Phillip Arnst were celebrated with fans and their parents after the game.
“I’m proud of each and every player, and I’m so proud of my seniors,” said Pressler. “We’re teaching these guys that soccer is important and being part of this team is something to be proud of.”
Blue Ridge plays Hayesville again on Thursday away but the outcome of that game has no bearing on the conference rankings. What has yet to be determined is whether Blue Ridge will have a bi in the first round of State Championships, which begin on Saturday. If they do have a bi on Saturday, they next play on Wednesday, opposition and location are yet to be determined.
Despite losing four seniors, Pressler said he had 11 other players coming back next year and that the team is headed in the right direction.
Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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Senior Night gallery
Editor’s Note: If anyone would like to print any of the Senior Night photos, please email firstname.lastname@example.org so I can send you the hi-res version. Otherwise it will not turn out well when printed.