The season ended for Clinton after 80 minutes of intense rough-and-tumble soccer Saturday night as the Dark Horses fell to the Durham School of the Arts, 2-3, in the second round of the state 2A playoffs.
Durham School of the Arts opened the game strong by finding the back of the net after just two minutes into the game. Clinton couldn’t recover despite several first half opportunities at the goal, where it seemed a DSA foot was always right there to block the ball from going into the net.
The Dark Horses tied the score at the 53:32 minute mark in the second half with a goal by Jose Aguilera on an assist by Juan Alverado. DSA fought back and managed to score twice in 12 minutes to pull ahead 1-3 with 15 minutes left in the game.
The Dark Horses weren’t finished, though, as Casey Yang managed to connect with about 5 minutes left in the game.
A disappointed Brad Spell, head coach for the Dark Horses, said his team just couldn’t find the back of the net despite several opportunities that could have changed the course of the game.
“I thought we came out early on and played hard,” he said. “We just didn’t capitalize on our opportunities. We had a couple of times when we hit the post, we just didn’t finish. They were able to finish their opportunities. They were really quick on the ball and we knew that coming in. I’ve got to give a lot of credit to Durham School of the Arts. They came out with a good game plan and just out-played us in the first half.”
“The second half we put a lot of pressure on them and evened up the game and actually had the momentum going forward,” he continued. “But once again we lost our mark and they scored, going up 2-1, so we had to make some adjustments. Then they got that third goal. We lost our composure a couple of times, too.”
Despite the loss, Spell said he was proud of his team and all the hard work they put into making this such a successful season.
“It’s always tough to lose the last game of the season,” he said. “I’ve been blessed this year. We had 15 great seniors who busted their tail all season long. They won a conference championship for us and I’m extremely proud and thankful for all their hard work this summer and throughout the year. I’ve been extremely lucky to coach these guys these past four years. I hate to see them go and I know they don’t want to be off the field,” he said, and added, “I want to thank all the coaches, the parents, and the fans. The fan support has been awesome this year.”
Clinton finished the season 15-6-2.