Northern, Webb draw in Hicks' farewell match
Northern Vance entered Monday’s match at J.F. Webb on better recent form than the Warriors.
But the game was another hotly-contested edition of the rivalry, seeming to bring out the best in the Warriors, who are still searching for their first 3-A Big Eight Conference win.
Webb went ahead 1-0 in the 69th minute, Northern leveled with 2:23 to play and the match ended in a 1-1 draw after two 10-minute overtime sessions.
“I think both teams battled,” said Webb head coach Sean Barnes. “It was a typical Northern Vance-Webb game. No matter the talent on either side, it was a great game. Both teams just battled.”
Jonathan Byrom tied the match in the 78th minute, beating Webb goalkeeper Tyler Blanchard to his right to convert the penalty kick.
“I appreciate their effort,” said Northern head coach Razvan Tegean. “They worked hard to get back in the game. They played hard for the overtime.”
Webb’s goal came on a perfectly-timed combination between seniors Jamie Gomez and William Gillespie.
Gillespie hunted down a ball, rolling toward the end line inside the penalty area, and back-heeled it to a trailing Gomez, who buried the finish on the right side to end a five-game Warriors’ scoring drought.
“I don’t think they should have got over there,” Tegean said of defending Gomez and Gillespie. “But the pass and the finish, it was very nice work.”
Northern goalkeeper Thomas Knight stopped a Webb penalty in the first half and finished with 12 saves on the evening.
“I’ll have to give Thomas credit for a great game tonight,” said Tegean. “He made some awesome saves. He helped the team a lot tonight.”
Tegean took the reigns of the boys and girls soccer programs from David Hicks in 2011.
Hicks, who started coaching Northern soccer in 1995, watched his final Vikings’ soccer game Monday as the school’s athletic director — and he was working all the way to the end.
“It’s been a hectic day,” said Hicks, who drove the team bus to Oxford. “I told my wife today seemed busier than the first day I ever worked. Maybe tomorrow morning it will hit me.”
Hicks said he was very confident in the direction Tegean has the soccer programs going.
Tegean still can’t believe his mentor really retired. The decision was effective Monday.
“I’m going to realize it Wednesday when he’s not there,” said Tegean. “It’s a very strange feeling.”
Barnes paid Hicks a visit near the away bleachers before the match.
“I went over to the fence before the game and I just hugged him and said, ‘Thank you,’” said Barnes, “from someone who has played the game his whole life and wants to see the game grown in a small market. He’s done that and he’s somebody that’s going to be missed. We owe a lot to David Hicks. The game of soccer in the Tri-County area owes a lot to David Hicks.”
Tegean and the Vikings (4-8-2, 1-4-1) host Cedar Ridge Wednesday while Webb travels to Southern Durham.