The NCISAA 2A playoffs are set to begin this week for three O’Neal teams: varsity boys soccer, varsity girls volleyball, and varsity girls tennis. It has been quite an unprecedented summer and fall; however, the Falcons have taken it in stride and risen to the occasion time and time again.
Athletic Director James Franklin shared, “Our student-athletes have been working hard since June 15th on their physical, technical, psychological, cerebral development, and their hard work has been tremendous. We can’t wait for them to get their chance to compete in the playoffs this week!”
Varsity boys soccer finished out the regular season in exciting fashion Friday night beating Salem Baptist 5-4 early in overtime. Heading into the second half, the Falcons trailed Salem 3-2, behind goals from freshmen Boyd Kenny and junior Florian Steiner.
The close contest continued as both sides battled and saw multiple chances at goal. With just under 15 minutes left, freshmen Brennan Hodges knocked home the tying goal and moments later sophomore Phillip Hancock gave the Falcons the lead for the first time all game. The buzzer could not come soon enough, as Salem Baptist squeezed in the tying goal just as time expired.
There were no hanging heads on the Falcon sidelines, however, as they capitalized early in overtime, and junior Aaron Seiring found the back of the net to seal the Falcon victory with a stunning 25-yard strike. The win moved the Falcons to 3-3 on the season and secured their playoff bid.
The Falcons received the #4 seed in the west bracket and have earned a bye in Tuesday’s first round and will host #5 seeded Salem Baptist in the second round Thursday afternoon. This will be the third match between the two teams, and if the first two games, both decided by last-minute goals, have shown us anything, Thursday’s game will not disappoint.
On the hardwood, the Falcon Volleyball Team has battled all season long challenging themselves with a tough schedule which paid off in big ways Friday night. Behind powerful serves, the Falcons opened the match winning the first set 25-3 with double-digit aces.
The dominating start allowed many of the younger Falcon reserves to see playing time as the Falcons continued to cruise through the next two sets winning 25-14 and 25-19 respectively. The match saw the Falcons grab their first win on the season heading into the state tournament with a 1-5 record. The Falcons will look to continue their momentum from Friday night as they travel to Burlington Christian this Tuesday for their NCISAA State Tournament opening round match-up.
Finally, the Falcons Girls’ Tennis heads into the NCISAA state playoffs as the #4 seed in the east bracket, due to different dividing lines for tennis brackets. This young team has shown great highlights throughout the year, and behind the senior leadership from Téa Waldt, have battled out strong victories against Burlington Christian and Fayetteville Academy.
With freshman Hannah Saye, as their one seeded player, and multiple middle schoolers in the top 6, these young Falcons have shown not only are they ready to make a run in this year’s NCISAA State Tournament, but the future is very bright for the O’Neal School Girls’ Tennis program. The Falcons will host Rocky Mount Tuesday afternoon in the opening round of the NCISAA State Tournament at O’Neal.
The NCISAA 2A State Tournaments will crown their winners in tennis, soccer, and volleyball in two weeks on Saturday, October 31 at various championship sites.