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The Hickory soccer team capped what was amazing regular season on Wednesday during â€śSenior Night,â€ť winning 1-0 against Fred T. Foard.
It was the 16th straight win for the Red Tornadoes, who finish their conference schedule undefeated at 12-0.
â€śThey just continue to work hard and are receptive to what we are trying to do and accomplish,â€ť said Hickory coach Brian Jillings of his team. â€śWhen you keep working hard like, good things are going to happen. We have a good combination of defenders, hard-working midfielders and guys who work magic with the ball.â€ť
Foard (14-9-1, 7-5-0) put on a strong defensive performance in the first half, holding Hickory to no goals and three shots. The game was tied 0-0 at the half.
A key swing in the game took place 10 minutes through the second half.
After a Khong Lo penalty kick sailed wide right for Foard, Hickory attacked a dazed Tigers squad.
â€śUp until the point of the penalty, it seemed like we were in control of the match and dominated possession,â€ť said Foard coach Scottie Goforth. â€śIt was just a emotional momentum swing on the missed penalty.â€ť
Moments later, Hickory midfielder Carlos Sevilla found forward Chris Dixon for a goal at the 30:24 mark.
â€śThey did deflate a little bit. I think the penalty kick was kind was an eye-opener,â€ť Jillings said. â€śIt woke us up a little bit. We started running at them with the ball, looked to get in behind them and forced their keeper to make some nice saves.â€ť
Despite a number of tries, including three corner kicks in the final five minutes, Foard failed to score on a stout Hickory defense.
Both teams now await their playoff fate when the brackets are announced.
â€śWe move forward and headed to playoffs,â€ť Goforth said. â€śMy team is prepared. Weâ€™ve played the best. Weâ€™ve played Hickory, Ashebrook and Asheville â€” all No. 1 seeds in our part of the bracket. We had close results with all of them. I donâ€™t feel as if the team has to walk on the field scared of anyone.â€ťView more articles in: