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Gray Stone dominates 9-0 to advance in playoffs

Utilizing a near-constant attack on goal, Gray Stone Day shut out Albemarle 9-0 in a first round soccer playoff match Saturday at Lefko Field in Misenheimer.

The Knights, who finished second to undefeated North Moore in the Yadkin Valley 1A conference, entered the NCHSAA playoffs as a No. 11 seed in the western NC bracket. Albemarle, the fourth-place squad in the YVC, came in as the No. 22 seed. The two teams had split during the regular season, with each squad victorious at home.

Gray Stone was able to push the ball forward in its offensive half of the field for nearly all of the first 12 minutes of play. However, it misfired on seven scoring opportunities before freshman forward Andrew Beohler took a pass at midfield, dribbled to the top of the penalty box and fired a shot into the left corner of the net with 18:18 remaining in the half.

Less than two minutes later, Beohler found the net again on a follow after teammate Zack Norman’s shot was deflected in the penalty box. By the 10:33 mark, Beohler had scored twice more, after which senior Chase Viscomi picked off an Albemarle goal kick and drilled it home with 7:55 remaining. The first half ended with Gray Stone holding a comfortable 5-0 advantage.

In second half play, Viscomi proved just as unstoppable as Beohler had been in the opening period, scoring three of the Knights’ four goals, including the game-winner at the 7:00 mark which pushed the lead to 9-0 and ended the match via mercy rule.

Norman scored Gray Stone’s remaining goal, taking a pass from Prior Sparks and netting a shot from the top of the penalty box with 11 minutes remaining.

Coach Brad Harrington was pleased with his team’s effort against the Bulldogs, who were one of only two YVC teams to top the Knights during the regular season.

“We knew this was a big game coming in,” he said. “We were able to maintain our spacing tonight, and we used it well.”

Beohler’s play early in the match was key in establishing momentum, said the coach.

“Even though Andrew isn’t starting, I told him he would probably play a big role for us as we move into the playoffs,” said Harrington. “But I don’t think either of us expected it to happen this quickly. He has a lot of talent, and I look forward to coaching him over the next three years.”

Gray Stone will travel to face the Lincoln Charter Eagles on Tuesday.

Lincoln Charter, along with Thomas Jefferson Charter, finished as co-champions of the Southern Piedmont 1A conference. By virtue of their No. 5 seed, the Eagles earned a first-round bye, having completed the regular season with an overall record of 13 wins, 7 losses and 1 draw.

Game time is set for 6 p.m. in Denver.

Toby Thorpe is a freelance contributor for The Stanly News & Press.