RALEIGH, N.C. – A 39th minute penalty kick was the difference for Marvin Ridge as Brandon Young drove the ball into the upper-right corner of the net and lifted the Mavericks to the lead late in the first half. Young was named the game’s M.V.P. as the lone goal scorer in the match. The Mavericks won their third championship in as many appearances in the State Championship Match.
Despite heavy pressure from Chapel Hill for much of first half, Marvin Ridge held the lead on some stellar goalkeeping by Tyler Fant. The Senior parried a bullet free kick just over the bar from just 30 yards out off the boot of Chapel Hill’s Justin Mecham 20 minutes into the first half. Fant made two other spectacular saves in the first half, punching out a line shot and cleaning up a loose corner attempt.
The difference in the match was the final two minutes of the first half. After being on their heels and defensive for much of the first frame, Marvin Ridge built a counter-attack and sprung Matt Winesette down the left side and into the edge of the box. Winesette drew a foul from Brendan Holly in the box, setting up Young’s penalty kick chance.
Chapel Hill had flourishes in the second half, but the possession and scoring chances were much more balanced. Playing with the wind, the Tigers had a distinct advantage as goal kicks by the Mavericks were routinely driven down by the wind.
The Tigers mustered a few opportunities in the final half, including a free kick by Mecham that curled onto the right post and clanged out from 35 yards out, but couldn’t slide one by Fant in the closing minutes.