Teams in this post:

Reagan frustrates North

North Davidson’s Zack Cartrette (14) defends against a Reagan corner kick during their match on Thursday. (Photo by Mike Duprez/The Dispatch)

WELCOME | Breaking through the Central Piedmont Conference glass ceiling has proven elusive over the years for North Davidson in soccer.

The Black Knights had a chance Thursday. But after playing second-place Reagan to a standstill for one half, North faltered in the second half and went down to a 3-0 defeat in Welcome.

“That’s what we talked about at halftime,” said North coach Michael Rakes. “Every opportunity has to count. It has to be every pass, every shot. Unfortunately, they capitalized on their opportunities and we didn’t.”

North (11-5-2 overall, 2-5-2 CPC) was one of five teams in the CPC with two or three conference wins. A state playoff berth is still a possibility but a win over Reagam would have helped immensely.

And the Knights seemed to have things trending their way. It was scoreless in the first half but the Knights were pushing the Raiders in the final 10 minutes. Nelson Leake got a decent shot on goal following a long through ball from Cameron Bates.

Two goals by Reagan in 25 seconds turned the Knights’ good feelings on their collective heads.

Less than three minutes into the second half, Reagan’s Jonathan Walters ripped a 35-yard shot to the far post past North keeper Colin Bunker. Just like that, the Knights were behind a team that was making few mistakes.

“It was a good shot on his part,” Rakes said. “We shouldn’t have given it up. We typically don’t see rockets like that come through here. They had some good stuff up top.”

One could sense the game had taken a decisive turn.

“It was a huge goal,” said Reagan coach Paul Hicks, whose team improved to 7-6-4 overall and 5-2-1 in the CPC. “It definitely gave us the momentum we needed.”

The Raiders pressed the attack again immediately on the next possession and the Knights were struck with an own goal when a header pass backward by one of Bunker’s teammates squirted through the keeper’s hands and found the back of the net for a 2-0 lead.

Reagan’s superb defenders led by James Edwards and Sammy Holton kept the Knights at bay, preventing any significant scoring chances. Walters also nearly scored again when his header hit the post.

North’s frustration boiled over when Leake was called for a foul after a hard collision with a Reagan player with 10:03 left. Rakes argued vigorously and drew a yellow card. Seconds later, assistant coach Greg Tesh was ejected.

“It doesn’t happen very often,” Rakes said. “I don’t have a problem with letting kids play physical. But I have a problem when you don’t call the same thing and then call it on us two seconds later. Just looking for consistency.”

The Knights looked like they might have a chance to slice the margin in half just over a minute later when Leake got loose on a breakaway. But Edwards caught up and altered Leake’s shot, which sailed wide to the left.

Leke Ademoyero, a speedy player who the Knights had trouble marking all night, closed out the scoring with just over a minute to play off a pass from Holton.

The Knights host Ledford on Monday.

Mike Duprez can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 218 or