Jacksonville soccer comes up just short vs. Hickory

Jacksonville’s quest for a state soccer title came up short Saturday.

The Cardinals allowed two seconds-half goals in falling to Hickory 2-1 in the NCHSAA 3-A championship game at MacPherson Stadium.

The Red Tornadoes took a 1-0 lead with 22:49 left when Braeden McCourt scored after the Cardinals were unable to clear out the ball. Hickory made it 2-0 with 19:51 left when Josue Leal scored on a free kick from the left side.

McCourt also had the defensive play of the match with 31:20 remaining as he prevented the ball from crossing the line after Jacksonville’s Jack Leary headed the ball over the goalkeeper while on the run. McCourt, a freshman, was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.

Jacksonville got to within 2-1 with 6:38 left on a goal by Tyler Gregory.

Jack Leary had a free kick just outside the 20 with about two minutes left that hit the right post.

Jacksonville (18-8-2) was in the state final for the first time since 2013 and was looking for its first title since it defeated Hickory 2-1 in overtime in 2012. Hickory (22-2-3) won the title after the Red Tornadoes fell in the state final last year.


Jacksonville played in the NCHSAA 3-A state boys soccer championship game Saturday against Hickory. [Tina Brooks / The Daily News]

The Jacksonville High boys’ soccer team takes on Hickory on Saturday from MacPherson Stadium in the NCHSAA 3-A state championship game.

This is a rematch from the 2012 state final, won 2-1 in overtime by the Cardinals.

Can Jacksonville continue the magic and bring home a third state championship in program history? The Cardinals’ other state title came in 2005. Or will second-seeded Hickory (21-2-3) win it all after falling in the final last year? Hickory defeated top seed Asheboro 2-1 on Monday in the West Regional final.

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING:Heading to state: What Jacksonville soccer players are saying about final

REGIONAL CHAMPIONS:Second-half rally lifts Jacksonville soccer past First Flight, into NCHSAA championship

Story continues

BIG VICTORY:Jacksonville boys soccer – and its boisterous fan base – headed to regional final

DEFEATING THE TOP SEED:With upset of top seed, Jacksonville boys soccer hits stride in playoffs

The eighth-seeded Cardinals (18-7-2) come in with plenty of momentum following an upset win at Burlington Williams, a win at Croatan and then a comeback 2-1 victory at First Flight on Wednesday in the East Regional final.

Can’t make it to the game in Browns Summit to cheer on the Cardinals?

This is the site to follow for all updates before, during and after the championship match.

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This article originally appeared on The Daily News: jacksonville plays hickory in 2022 nchsaa 3-a championship game


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