Strong performances from Falcons as middle school seasons kick off

Middle School Cross Country: 

Middle school Falcon runners hit the road Monday, competing in their first meet of the season at Lee Christian.  The past week’s speed and endurance training paid off as the runners raced through a very tough and technical 3000m course. The route was mentally and physically challenging, but Falcons showed true grit and tenacity and held steady against more experienced runners.  

The highlight of the meet was the strong performance by Parker Fusonie, finishing at 11:56, followed by Lainey Murphy, coming in at 13:47.  Falcon runners will focus on hill training, speed work, and race strategy as they prepare for their next meet on Sept. 11 at St. John Paul. 

Middle School Boys Soccer: 

Away Game—Northwood Temple 

Falcons Win 2-1 

The middle school boys soccer team traveled to Northwood Temple for their first match of the season last week. After conceding an early goal, the Falcons used high pressure on Northwood Temple’s defensive line to draw a foul and convert a penalty kick.  This turned the tide as O’Neal scored off a corner kick a few minutes later to take a 2-1 lead.  With strong defensive positioning and pressure, they held off a late surge to preserve the win.   

Home Game—Fayetteville Christian 

Falcons Lose 4-2 

The middle school boys soccer hosted Fayetteville Christian in their first home game of the season on Monday.  Although the flow of play was quite balanced, the ball bounced a little more favorably for Fayetteville Christian as they built an early lead. 

The Falcons never stopped fighting and twice answered a Fayetteville Christian goal to trail 2-1 and 3-2 late in the half.  A last-second goal by Fayetteville Christian ended the half at 4-2. 

In the second half, both teams settled down defensively and played a very even and scoreless 30 minutes.  Although they came out on the losing end, it was a performance that O’Neal could build upon, and they will be excited to face Fayetteville Christian again later in the season. 

Next week, the boys travel to Fayetteville Academy before taking a break for class trips. 

Middle School Volleyball  

Overall Record: 2-1 

Following tryouts, the middle school A players hit the ground running by learning new rotations and positions on the court. After only three practices, they kicked off the season with a win on the road against Northwood Temple. However, in their next match, they fell short against a competitive Fayetteville Christian.

In a quick turnaround, the Falcons focused on serving consistency and playing together as a team while facing off against Freedom Christian, resulting in their second win. Their coaches are impressed by the leadership of many of the eighth graders and the high level of intensity that all of the athletes bring to the court. The potential for this team this season is through the roof.

The Falcons’ next contest will be at Fayetteville Academy Sept. 5 before taking a break for class trips.  

Varsity Cross Country: 

O’Neal Varsity Cross Country had a great week.  The Falcon runners ran their first meet of the season at Trinity Academy of Raleigh and placed third for boys and girls. The course was technical, hilly, and very muddy. 

Congratulation goes to the following runners that competed in their first varsity 5K: Honor Hicks, Aiden Blackwell, and Hudson Harless. Each runner crushed their first 5000-meter(5K) challenge. 

O’Neal Cross Country will enjoy a long weekend and then be back to training to prepare for two large invitationals. 

Varsity Boys Soccer: 

The O’Neal Falcons boys varsity soccer team delivered an outstanding performance in their recent match against Northwood Temple, securing a resounding 9-1 victory. With brilliant individual efforts leading the charge, the Falcons displayed exceptional teamwork and skill on the field, leaving fans and opponents alike in awe. 

From the opening whistle, it was evident that the Falcons were determined to make their mark. The team’s offensive prowess was on full display as they executed remarkable individual plays to secure their goals. Each goal was a testament to the players’ dedication, skill, and strategic understanding of the game. 

This victory was crucial for the Falcons, not only for the impressive scoreline but also for its impact on their overall standing. The win propelled the Falcons to a remarkable 3-0 record in conference play, highlighting their dominance within the league. Furthermore, the team’s season record now stands at 3-1, underlining their consistent performance throughout the campaign. 

The postponed match against Fayetteville Christian has been rescheduled for Sept. 29, and the Falcons are poised to showcase their skills once again. The anticipation for this rematch is palpable as both teams look forward to a competitive clash that could redefine the course of their respective seasons. 

Looking ahead, the O’Neal Falcons have a jam-packed schedule that promises more thrilling soccer action. On Sept.12, the team will take to their home field to face off against Berean Baptist at 4 p.m. As the Falcons continue to exhibit their strength, strategy, and sportsmanship, fans can expect to witness exhilarating soccer matches that will leave an indelible mark on the season. 

Varsity Girls Tennis:  

Back-to-Back Wins for Varsity Girls Tennis 

Thursday, Aug. 24, the Falcons hosted Wake Christian, winning the match 8-1. In singles, the Falcons won five of six courts. Congratulations to Charli Bunder (6-2, 6-0), Brooke Greenblatt (6-2, 6-0), Ava Taylor Walker (6-3, 6-4), Ava Simmons (4-6, 6-2 tie break 10-6) and Rachel Wolff (6-4,6-0).

Ava Simmons stayed tough and came back from a first set 4-6 loss to win the second set 6-2 and take the match in a tiebreak (10-6). It was a full sweep in doubles (congratulations to Charli Bunder/Ava Taylor Walker 8-6, Ava Simmons/Brooke Greenblatt 8-4, & Mia Franco/Sydney Davis 8-1).  Charli Bunder and Ava Taylor Walker came roaring back from 1-5 to take their match at 8-6. It was epic. 

Monday, Aug. 28, the Falcons captured their second 8-1 win at Westchester Academy. After a full sweep in singles, the entire varsity lineup was able to rotate in for doubles, giving all nine of our traveling players a chance at competition.  

The Falcons will host Trinity Academy at home on Monday, September 11, at 3:30 PM.   

Varsity Volleyball: 

The O’Neal varsity volleyball team displayed remarkable resilience in a gripping showdown against Fayetteville Christian, ultimately facing a narrow 2-3 defeat. The match, filled with electrifying moments, showcased the team’s unwavering determination and ability to bounce back from setbacks. 

After dropping the first set to Fayetteville Christian, O’Neal fought back valiantly. The team’s focus and dedication were exemplified in a standout moment when a serve ricocheted off Gianna Mahue’s face but miraculously bounced back over the net, keeping the play alive. Kennedi Hamner then sealed the incredible effort by executing a powerful finish from a tight ball at the net. O’Neal’s ability to turn adversity into an opportunity underscored their unity and determination. 

Despite securing victories in the second and third sets, O’Neal couldn’t stave off Fayetteville Christian’s resurgence in the fourth and fifth sets. The intense exchanges, highlighted by powerful spikes and relentless defense, culminated in a hard-fought loss for the O’Neal Falcons. As the varsity volleyball team looks to the future, they can draw inspiration from their tenacity and teamwork showcased in this memorable match. 

JV Volleyball: 

The O’Neal JV volleyball team faced a challenging match on Wednesday evening as they went head-to-head against Fayetteville Christian School. Despite a promising start in the first set, the O’Neal team ultimately succumbed to a two-set defeat. 

The opening set kicked off with high energy and promise for the Falcons. Their serve receive was solid, and the back row consistently delivered precise passes to set up potential scoring opportunities. The team displayed exceptional teamwork and coordination on the court, showcasing their determination. 

However, the game’s momentum took a turn as the Falcons struggled to convert their solid play into points on the scoreboard. Despite their best efforts, they faced a series of challenges, including service errors that proved costly. While O’Neal showed moments of brilliance and resilience throughout the match, they were unable to overcome the well-executed play of their opponents. 

Despite the disappointing outcome, the O’Neal JV volleyball team continues to work hard and grow as a unit. They remain committed to refining their skills and strategies, learning from each match to come back stronger in future competitions. 

Feature photo by Wendy Hodges.


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