Rosewood continues to make history on the soccer pitch.
Earlier this season, the Eagles won their first conference title in 19 years, and on Thursday evening, the Eagles defeated North Moore 1-0 in the fourth round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A playoffs to advance to the eastern regional finals.
It’s the first time in school history that Rosewood has reached the regional championship round.
“It’s really exciting. Going into the season, bringing all the guys back except for two, I knew that we had a possibility to do something,” Rosewood head coach Eddie Maldonado said. “Their goal was to make it further than they did last year, and they did that, so I can’t be prouder of them.
“The work they put in this season is unbelievable, so I’m extremely proud of the boys.”
In a rematch of last season’s third-round matchup, the Eagles (21-0-2 overall) will travel to Voyager Academy (16-1-3) on Tuesday with a trip to the state championship game on the line.
“They (Voyager Academy) beat us last year 3-1, so hopefully there’s tape on them we can watch,” Maldonado said. “Honestly, when you get to this round, everybody is good.
“We’ll see what we can do.”
From the first whistle, the game was a back-and-forth affair with neither getting the upper hand.
In the 18th minute, North Moore had a great chance to get on the board when a Rosewood foul inside the box gave North Moore a penalty kick, but Brian Loza’s penalty kick went wide left, so the game remained scoreless at halftime.
Both teams managed to create a few scoring chances throughout the second half but were unable to convert.
“Coming into the game and missing two starters, we knew we weren’t going to have the firepower offensively that we had earlier in the year,” Maldonado said. “All the credit to North Moore. They came out hard and fast. They’re skillful, and that game could’ve gone any way.
“That was an intense game.”
And after 80 minutes, the game headed into the overtime, which turned up the intensity.
In the first 10-minute overtime period, the Eagles got four straight corner kicks, but they still could not find the back of the net, while neither team could convert in the second 10-minute period.
So, after 100 minutes, the game was sent into the golden goal period, and the Eagles finally managed to breakthrough.
“I don’t think the boys got discouraged. It’s really more ‘I know you’re tired, but we have to stay focused,’ because once you get tired, you start to stop thinking,” Maldonado said. “They found a way, which is exciting.”
In the 103rd minute, Reece Gery fired off a shot that gave the Eagles another corner kick.
Gery then took the corner kick and launched it into the box, the Eagles managed to get a shot off, and the North Moore goalie made a good save but could not gather the ball.
However, Aaron Zamora was in the right place at the right time, and he collected the ball and buried it into the back of the net.
“It’s crazy that me, brothers, my family that we won on the last second it’s surreal,” Zamora said. “I saw the ball get loose, and I just kicked it in.”