Franklin Academy 5
By Marty Simpkins
WAKE FOREST — It was an emotional Senior Night for soccer player Peter Kassay. The captain played his last regular season game at Franklin Academy, and he helped his team get the win, 5-2 against Voyager Academy on Oct. 22.
Kassay played his first three years for the Patriots as a goalkeeper, but this season he played forward and became the leading scorer for his team. His versatility was on display the whole year, as he also played defender and midfielder in some games.
On Senior Night, Kassay played the entire first half as goalie.
“I haven’t played goalkeeper in six months, but it brought back some memories,” Kassay said. “I miss it a little bit, but I’m glad to be where I am right now. I’ve had a lot of memories out on this field. There’s a lot of kids I’m going to miss playing with.”
Coach Jay Paradowski is in his first year as head coach for Franklin Academy’s soccer program and having a player like Kassay helped make his first year a lot more fun.
“I just met Peter this year, so now I got to witness all the great things everybody’s been talking about,” Paradowski said. “I’m very proud of the other seniors too. They come out each year and there were some seniors who didn’t get a whole lot of playing time. They didn’t complain about it, they always showed up to practice and they just (did) their job. They’ve been able to mentor some of the younger players and tell them to work on their skills.”
One of those younger players is junior Jacob Faulkner. He’s played with Kassay for three years and has enjoyed the experience.
“He’s a great player,” Faulkner said. “He’s got a lot of power on him and fundamentally he works well. He’s always been good in goal, but this year he’s played offense and he made the best of that, scoring a lot of goals for us.”
Zach Hanson is a freshman striker who has only been around Kassay for one year, but it was enough for Hanson to appreciate the older player.
“He’s a good captain and a good goal scorer,” Hanson said. “He’s a tank, so he’s always good up top.”
Franklin Academy scored two goals in just a few minutes near the end of the first half — the first by Hanson on a pass from sophomore Ben Voorhis, and the second by Faulkner with an assist by junior Nick Hughes.
The Patriots added three more goals in the second half: Faulkner scored one on a great feed from Hanson; Hughes scored, with another Hanson assist; and Kassay scored five minutes later, with assistance from Voorhis.
After that goal, the backups were put in so the starters could rest until the first round of the playoffs.
The win gave Franklin Academy 15 for the season, and they finished second in the 1A North Central Athletic Conference behind Raleigh Charter, who is undefeated in conference play. For Paradowski’s first year, that’s not a bad start.
“I think this season went really good,” Paradowski said. “It’s an enjoyable season. These players made my job easier and it made it easier for me to accept the position as the soccer coach here. I think we have a really good group of guys, not just seniors, but as a whole. I chose them to be a part of my team and I wouldn’t change it one bit.”
Paradowski knows that the state playoffs won’t be a walk in the park, so he has a few ideas of how his team can make a run to the state championship.
“We just have to continue working on the basics,” Paradowski said. “Our passing has picked up and our possession is controlling the flow of the game. The big thing we have to talk about it is intensity. No matter what the skill level is you play against, if you come out with intensity, things change. We know we’re probably going to be facing much better skilled teams, but if you come in with a big heart, you can be on the winning side.”
Kassay knows that winning the championship would be the perfect opportunity to ride off into the sunset to finish his high school journey.
“If we play to our full potential and work as well as some of the games that we have done in the past, then we can definitely make a good push to get as far as we can in the playoffs,” Kassay said.