by Marty Simpkins
WAKE FOREST — After winning two back-to-back games, the Huskies came up short against the Broughton Capitals, 5-2 on Oct. 22.
It was Senior Night for Heritage and 11 seniors got to play soccer in their last regular season home game. The Huskies secured a spot in the playoffs as the second-best team in the Cap-8, so Coach Scott Sloan knew this game didn't mean much aside the fact that it was Senior Night.
"There's nothing to learn from this loss," Sloan said. "We're going to take this game and put it in the trash can. We had to play three games in a row and this was an emotional week playing two rivals. Wakefield and Millbrook were the two games we knew we had to get this week. All games are important, but when it comes down to it, this game wasn't going to move us up or down in the standings. We're just going to move forward and start thinking about the state playoffs."
Broughton finished the regular season as the Cap-8 conference champions with a 15-1-2 overall record and a conference record of 12-1-1, so it was understandable why Heritage couldn't get the win after using up all their energy to beat Wakefield and Millbrook earlier in the week.
Senior captain Hunter Weiland desperately wanted to get the victory on Senior Night, but he knows that his team can only do so much.
"Three games in a row is tough," Weiland said. "We got our two wins, but unfortunately lost here on Senior Night. I definitely think that in order to move forward, we have to play like it's our last time. We have to continue to fight and keep doing what we're doing and hopefully we can get the results we're looking for."
Weiland did finish the regular season as the state's leader in assists with 26, so he has that going for him.
"It's just a team effort," Weiland said. "I want to thank the goalie starting from the back up to our forwards. Everything is a unit and I'm just a player that's part of a team. It's more of a program that's helped me get those assists. I just do the easy stuff and pass the ball. We have finishers like Logan Shytle and Nick Gallo who are our top scorers for us. I'd like to say it's me, but I can't take credit for anything. It's team effort."
Shytle re-aggravated his ankle injury playing Wakefield on Oct. 20, so he sat out the last two games of the season. Even though he missed some playing time, Shytle still finished the regular season as the Cap-8 leader in goals with 20. Sloan is happy to report that he will be ready by the time the playoffs come around.
"Logan is the leading scorer in the conference," Sloan said. "He'll be a big help coming back for sure."
In the Broughton game, striker Ibrahim Mohamud recorded a hat trick for the Capitals, scoring two goals in the first half and scoring his third in the beginning of the second half. The two goal scorers for Heritage were both seniors: Ykali Enuol in the 10th minute and Garret Latham in the 79th minute.
The 4A State Playoffs don't start until Wednesday, so Sloan's giving his team a short break.
"We're going to rest right now," Sloan said. "We'll get back to practice on Friday and then I'll get a little closer idea of who we're going to play in the first round. Then we can start thinking about styles of play and how we can get better. We're a little banged up right now, so we've got to find a way to close some gaps that we exposed over the last games."