The final whistle sounded Saturday afternoon at Voyager Academy, signaling the end of Rosewood’s season.
Playing in its third game in four days, Rosewood suffered a 3-1 loss to the Vikings in the third round of the N.C. Carolina High School Athletic Association 1A playoffs.
Rosewood reached the third round for the second straight season, and Rosewood head coach Eddie Maldonado said this season’s playoff run was unexpected and enjoyable.
“I can’t be prouder of the boys. Going into the season, after graduating nine seniors, I had no idea what to expect with this team,” Maldonado said. “I knew we were going to be young and have growing pains, but to be playing in this game, I would’ve never expected it at the beginning of the year.
“So, I’m extremely proud.”
Six minutes into the game, the Eagles struck first when, off a free-kick just outside the 18-yard box, Reece Gery passed the ball to Hector Gutierrez, who blasted the ball into the back of the net.
However, in the 23rd minute, the Vikings tied the game off a goal from Kooper Hendriks.
Two minutes later, Tanner Reo scored a goal to give Voyager Academy a 2-1 lead.
In the second half, the Eagles fought hard to tie the game, but in the 48th minute, the Vikings’ offense proved to be too much as Emory Crichlow penetrated the Eagles’ defense to give Voyager Academy a 3-1.
“Voyager just kept coming, and unfortunately, we couldn’t hold them off,” Maldonado said. “Voyager is a very talented team.”
Seniors Shane Smith and Brady Osborne played their final games in an Eagles’ jersey, and Maldonado said their leadership was needed to guide Rosewood through its season.
“Shane and Brady have both been leaders on this team. They’re the guys who set the drills up,” Maldonado said. “They lead by example, and you can’t ask for better leadership than that, so they mean a lot to this program.”