The old adage "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" proved true once again last week, at - of all places - a high school soccer match between Evans and Greenbrier.
The Wolfpack held a 1-0 first-half lead Tuesday at Blanchard Stadium, but the Knights had some fight left.
Then Greenbrier striker Joey Grigsby applied the knockout punch. Pack senior Chris Swain lofted a corner kick, and Grigsby was there to drive a leaping, full-volley shot into the upper left corner of the goal.
"That was pretty," Greenbrier coach Chip Warren said of the blast.
To Evans coach Brian Killips, the goal looked pretty ugly.
"It hurts the morale of the team. That was a great finish, but the bottom line is the kid came in unmarked," Killips said. "If somebody had been on him, he never would have had that shot."
After seeing the impressive play, the Knights became mere spectators, as the Pack closed out a 6-0 shutout.
Grigsby finished with three goals, while Jeremy Dent, Brendon Globensky and Zach Ducey also scored. Ducey, Swain, Dent, Globensky and Pat Harmon all had an assist.
Greenbrier's defense recorded its first shutout, with Keith Borgner and Chris Parrish in goal. The Pack improved to 4-0 with the win.
"We've played well in spurts, but we need to put a whole game together. We did a lot toward that tonight," Warren said. "This was our most complete game so far."
Evans dropped to 3-3, but Coach Killips wants his team to put its focus on improving for upcoming Region 4-AAAAA competition.
"Getting beat by Greenbrier hurts your pride, but the game doesn't mean a thing. You've got to win your region games," he said.
The Pack is aiming at reclaiming a Region 3-AAAA title this season. Greenbrier last won region in 1998, but the '99 team advanced to the state finals to set the standard for prep soccer squads in Columbia County - the Pack lost 1-0 to Woodward Academy in the championship match at the Brierpatch.
Most of the starters from the 1999 Wolfpack graduated, and the following season Lakeside High School joined Region 3-AAAA. The Panthers took over, and have won the past three region crowns.
This year Greenbrier has 10 seniors and 12 juniors, plus enough strength and experience to challenge Lakeside's reign.
"Our first goal is winning region. We haven't beaten Lakeside since I've been here, so they're at the top of the hill until we knock them off - but we have all the respect in the world for those guys," said Warren, who became head coach in 2000.
The Pack earned some respect from Evans. Coach Killips said, "That's the best Greenbrier team I've seen. They played great tonight."
Greenbrier was on the verge of greatness last year - the Pack had St. Pius X beat in the state playoff quarterfinals, but allowed a last-minute goal and eventually lost in overtime. St. Pius went on the win the state title.
"We played St. Pius tough last year, and our senior group sat on the bench for that championship game four years ago," Warren said. "They didn't play, but they saw it and they've been working their butts off for three years to get back there. We feel like now we have the firepower to compete."
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