Rosewood’s fantastic season came to an end on Tuesday evening in Durham. The Eagles fell to Voyager Academy 1-0 in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A Eastern Regionals.
Voyager Academy advances to face Christ the King in the state championship game on Saturday, while Rosewood will end the season with a 21-1-2 overall record.
Still, it was a historic season for the Eagles, who won a conference title for the first time in 19 years and before this season had not made it past the fourth round. Rosewood head coach Eddie Maldonado said he was beyond of team’s effort.
“I’m extremely proud of the boys’ efforts, not just for this game, but for the whole season. I can’t ask for more out of them,” Maldonado said. “The boys have grown tremendously. They never stopped working, and they had a goal of wanting to get further than they did last year, and they achieved that goal.”
The Vikings did a good job of keeping the Eagles at bay throughout the first half, but the Eagles still managed to get a couple of shots on goal.
And despite the pressure Voyager Academy put on the Eagles, the Vikings could not break down the Eagles’ defense, so the score remained 0-0 halftime.
“The game started, and we knew Voyager was going to be good. We saw them last year, and they’ve grown and improved,” Maldonado said. “We knew we were going to be defending a lot.”
The second half started the same as the first, with the Eagles forced to play on their heels, but things began to change midway through the second half.
Rosewood started to create more chances, but the Eagles still could find the back of the net.
“At halftime, we talked about that we were playing on our heels a little bit too much, and I felt like in the last 20 minutes or so, we started to come out of our shell a little bit,” Maldonado said.
The game seemed destined for overtime, but in the 72nd minute, the Eagles were called for a foul inside the box, which led to a penalty kick for the Vikings.
Emory Crichlow managed to slip a shot into the bottom left corner of the net, and with eight minutes left in the game, the Vikings had a 1-0 lead.
The Eagles valiantly tried to find the game-tying goal, but not enough time was left on the clock, and Vikings emerged the 1-0 victory.
“It just stinks to lose on something like that,” Maldonado said.
The Eagles will lose three seniors – Benjamin Peacock, Ty Rouse and Gavin Davis – to graduation, and Maldonado thanked them for their leadership and helping the Eagles make history this season.
“The seniors are a huge loss to this program. They’re guys that come and hang out in my classroom. The whole group of guys had this real chemistry,” Maldonado said. “At practice, they all get along, they’re all joking around, and it’s led by those three guys.
“I couldn’t ask for a better group of seniors to lead the team.”