The All-Neuse News Soccer Team
North Lenoir’s Taiwan Hines is named the All-Neuse News Soccer Player of the Year after posting 28 goals and 18 assists this season. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News
Hopefully, this was worth the wait.
I’ve done my best to keep everything transparent sports-wise and I can’t lie: I didn’t see as many soccer games as I wanted to. Due to football seemingly being played every day except for Friday and volleyball also garnering attention, gauging soccer wasn’t the easiest component.
I did see enough to formulate a list and hopefully, there won’t be a lot of people upset with the end results. If there are issues, feel free to list your thoughts in the comment section.
Well, on to the teams:
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Taiwan Hines, North Lenoir (28 goals, 18 assists)
When teams have to develop gameplans around a player simply to contain a threat, it’s a pretty easy choice to make for this spot. The junior came out of nowhere last season to post a school-record 35 goals and nine assists, and may have gotten even better this year. Although Hines didn’t put as many into the back of the net in 2018, the additional coverage from defenders helped him double his assist total as the Hawks had a second straight winning record.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Matt Gnau, Greene Central
The Rams have been a strong program in years past, but kicked it up a notch under the guidance of the first-year head coach. Greene Central claimed a share of its first Eastern Carolina Conference title since 2015, won its first playoff game since 2014 and had a school-record 17 wins this season. Gnau played a strong role in ensuring the Rams continued what has been a stellar run.
Harris Barker, Arendell Parrott
The junior striker was named Patriots’ MVP and he certainly proved his mettle with a team-high 11 goals with seven assists. Barker was also named to the EPIC All-Conference team for the second straight year.
Luis Henriquez, North Lenoir
The junior was a good compliment to Hines, finishing second on the team with 12 goals scored. The offense was far from one-dimensional with Henriquez making his contributions.
Orlando Gallardo, North Lenoir
In 21 games, Hawks opponents registered four or more goals just four times. As the last line of defense, the junior racked up 170 saves and allowed just 2.1 goals per contest.
Axel Hernandez, Ayden-Grifton
The Chargers offense wasn’t the greatest in the conference with 27 goals in 16 games, but the junior was unstoppable at times with 19 goals. Ayden-Grifton won five games this year, the most since 2014.
Jaheem Hunt, Greene Central
The Rams went with a trio of goaltenders, yet the team allowed just 41 goals in 22 games. Part of it can be attributed to the senior defender, who was one of Greene Central’s leaders on the team.
Zach Jenkins, North Lenoir
The Hawks senior made the transition from goalkeeper to defender in 2018 and gave the team another strong element in the process. North Lenoir allowed two goals or fewer in 13 contests.
Angel Lopez, South Lenoir
The senior played a pivotal role for the Blue Devils as South Lenoir’s most revered striker, leading the team in both goals (14) and assists (6). The Blue Devils won eight games, its highest total since 2015.
Gilberto Lopez, Greene Central
Lopez was one of the most dangerous scorers in the Eastern Carolina Conference, racking up 26 goals and six assists. Only a sophomore, expect Lopez to continue his assault on the league.
Giovany Marcos, Greene Central
The junior was a strong compliment to Lopez, finishing second on the team with 13 goals and adding four assists. Marcos helped the Rams score five or more goals in 11 games this season.
Fabian Marquez, Greene Central
Along with Hunt, Marquez provided the Rams with consistent defense throughout the season. The senior assisted in the team allowing two goals or fewer in 13 contests.
Ulises Mora, Greene Central
Another talented offensive player, the junior showcased a well-rounded game for the Rams in 2018. Mora was third on the team in goals scored with 11 and tied for second providing seven assists.
Nathan Drake, Greene Central
Drake was third on the Rams in goals scored (8) and tied for second in assists (7).
Carmen Enriquez, North Lenoir
Enriquez played a strong role in distributing the ball, finishing second on the Hawks with 14 assists.
Eduardo Gonzalez, Greene Central
Gonzalez was the team’s best distributor with 13 assists, but also added five goals.
Peyton Howard, North Lenoir
Howard was another strong defender for the Hawks, who benefitted from his efforts all year.
Jerrin Howell, North Lenoir
Howell was another dangerous Hawks striker, finishing third on the team with 10 goals.
Rodolfo Lopez-Garcia, South Lenoir
Lopez-Garcia provided good balance for the Blue Devils, totaling four goals and five assists.
Kolby Jones, Arendell Parrott
Jones was an EPIC All-Conference selection and had a team-high 11 assists this season.
Jose Morquecho, Greene Central
Morquecho was third on the Rams with seven assists, but also added six goals in the process.
Alex Nichols, Ayden-Grifton
In 15 games, Nichols posted 172 saves to help the Chargers with their best season since 2014.
Jose Sanchez, North Lenoir
Sanchez played a pretty versatile role for the Hawks, registering three goals and eight assists.
Richard Williams, Arendell Parrott
Williams was given the team’s defensive player of the year award and played every game except one.
George Dismukes (3 goals, 6 assists), Tony Lersch (2 goals, 2 assists), Josh Okonkwo (3 goals, 3 assists)
Jerry Hobbs (9 saves per game)
James Acevedo (midfielder), Felipe Hinojosa (4 goals, 6 assists)
Emmanuel Powell (4 goals)
Axel Rodriguez (4 goals, 6 assists)
Christian Vazquez (6 goals)
Let the debates begin.