After leading the Cedar Ridge men’s soccer team in scoring, junior striker Chris Mendez has been named to the All-Central Carolina Conference squad.
Mendez was one of four Cedar Ridge players honored. Also voted to the All-Conference team was goalkeeper Benjamin Weaver, senior co-Captain Alex Jackan and wingback Issac Anderson.
Orange placed two players on the All-Conference team: junior midfielder Darius Corbett and Tucker Gaddy. The Panthers were also honored with the league’s Sportsmanship Award.
This season, Mendez led Cedar Ridge with 13 goals and 29 points. On September 15, Mendez scored two goals in a 4-1 victory over Orange in the opening leg of the Hillsborough Derby at Red Wolves Stadium. Mendez scored Cedar Ridge’s second goal off an assist from Jesus Quirez-Rivera and blasted the ball into the net from eight yards away. In the second half, Mendez notched the brace after he stuck in a rebound after a save by Orange goalkeeper Connor McMurtry.
Mendez ended the season with a hat trick in Cedar Ridge’s 6-0 win over Eastern Alamance on October 26, which put the Red Wolves on the verge of making the state playoffs for the first time since 2016. Cedar Ridge likely was the first team out of the field of 64 when the playoff field was unveiled in October.
Weaver was the starting goalkeeper for all 20 of Cedar Ridge’s games this season. After moving to North Carolina form Pennsylvania, Weaver was inserted into the starting lineup by first year Red Wolves’ head coach Chauncey Brummell. He posted his first clean sheet in a 9-0 win over Clover Garden School on August 25. In the opening tilt against Orange, Weaver kept the Red Wolves in the lead midway through the second half when he blocked a shot by Corbett from the penalty spot after the Panthers had narrowed Cedar Ridge’s lead to 2-1. Weaver posted three more shutouts in the regular season.
Jackan was the senior leader who developed a reputation as a strong defensive midfielder. He had two goals in 2021, including a marker in an 8-1 victory over Person on September 23 in Hillsborough.
Anderson had a season-high two goals against Person in Hillsborough. He was chosen as the player of the game in a rugged game against Williams, where the Bulldogs pulled out a 2-0 win. Anderson also had goals against East Chapel Hill and Clover Garden School.
For Orange, Corbett scored eight goals and one assist. He had a hat trick in Orange’s opening win of the season, a 9-0 victory over Henderson Collegiate at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary. Corbett also notched a hat trick in a 4-3 loss at Southern Durham on September 24. Corbett scored the final goal with seconds remaining in regulation as Orange defeated Graham 4-1, a game where the Panthers exploded for four goals in the final 16 minutes.
Gaddy, a junior, was a strong defense presence for the Panthers, who finished 7-12-1 overall under head coach Palmer Bowman. Gaddy had an assist in Orange’s 4-1 victory over Eastern Alamance on September 29 in Hillsborough. The Panthers concluded the season with a 9-2 victory over the Eagles in Mebane on October 25.
Western Alamance’s Ian Bacchus was named the Central Carolina Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Baccus scored 22 goals as the Warriors, despite finishing 2nd in the CCC, won the 3A State Championship.
Walter Williams’ Ty Thompson was named the CCC Defensive Player of the Year. Williams’ Jeremy Krist was the CCC Coach of the Year.
It was the second time in three years that a team from Alamance County won the 3A men’s soccer state championship. Williams captured the 2019 crown.