Blue Comets fall short of state final in soccer loss to Hickory

Asheboro’s Brandon Santos, right, is consoled by Hickory goalkeeper Conner Mejia on Monday night. (PJ Ward-Brown/Randolph Record)

ASHEBORO – Asheboro’s finest season in boys’ soccer didn’t end so splendidly.

The Blue Comets gave a strong effort but fell short of reaching the state championship game, dropping a 2-1 decision to visiting Hickory in the Class 3-A West Region final Monday night.

“It just wasn’t our day,” Asheboro coach Nick Arroyo said.

Asheboro (23-2-2) scored first on Daniel Gutierrez Resendez’s goal.

Hickory posted the tying and go-ahead goals late in the first half.

“We had two simple mistakes that just cost us two goals quick in the last two minutes of the first half,” Arroyo said.

Hickory (21-2-3), the reigning West Region champion, will be in the state championship game for the second year in a row. The Red Tornadoes, who held the No. 10 seed in the West Region, will meet either Jacksonville or First Flight.

Arroyo said the Blue Comets, who were the No. 1 seed in the West Region, will miss members of the outgoing senior class. But that doesn’t mean the program won’t excel in the coming seasons.

“We have enough talent that we’re going to grow right back into a solid team again,” Arroyo said.

The boys’ soccer state finals will be held at MacPherson Stadium, home of NC Fusion in Browns Summit. It’s the first time for the boys’ soccer championships in the Greensboro area since the 1980s.

The stadium seats 3,000. Games in the four classifications will be Friday and Saturday.

The Blue Comets won two home games last week to reach the final week of the regular season.

In the regional semifinal against fourth-seeded East Lincoln, Asheboro won 1-0 on Gutierrez Resendez’s goal in the second half. The result also gave the Blue Comets their third shutout of the postseason.

That game followed a game earlier in the week when Gutierrez Resendez, Edwin Perez Vazquez and Cristisn Oritz all scored goals in a 3-0 victory against No. 25 seed West Iredell.

By Randolph Record