Northwest Guilford men's soccer is riding high these days.
The Vikings (18-2-2, 8-0) won the Metro 4A Conference and are rated No. 1 in the state by MaxPreps.com. They're expecting another No. 1 seed in the post season West Regionals in early November.
"It's very similar so far as last year," Coach Jason Allred said of the regular season.
But last year didn't turn out well. Northwest also entered the regionals as the top seed, falling in the second round to Independence. Since they had a first-round bye, it was their first game in the tournament.
"We're hoping we can redeem ourselves this year," Allred said. "I feel like if we can get that first win in the post season it'll take a lot of the pressure off the team and we'll be set for a deep run."
The Vikings have made it to the state tournament fourth round - the quarter finals - three times before, but never any further.
"We'd like to change that this year," Allred said.
One concern he noted is his team's inability to score consistently. The regular season has lots of narrow Viking wins - many of them by slim 1-0 margins.
But, said Allred: "The score does not reflect the game. We usually dominated in every statistical category. We just fail to finish."
For example, he said, during a game against rival Northern Guilford earlier in the season, his team outshot the Nighthawks 12-to-1, but only won 1-0.
"That's been our biggest area of concern," Allred said. "We create a lot of chances. It's just the mental focus right in front of the goal."
Northwest's leading scorers this season have been seniors Mason Quinlan with 12 goals and David Cake with nine.
The Vikings close out the regular season Saturday at home against Ronald Reagan (7-12-2).
Northwest Guilford Football
Northwest Guilford Vikings dropped their third Metro 4A Conference football game of the season last Friday, falling 34-20 to cross-county rival Ragsdale.
The Tigers jumped on the visiting Vikings early, taking a 20-7 lead into the second quarter. The Vikings nearly matched Ragsdale (4-5, 2-0) point for point the rest of the way, but couldn't dig themselves out of that first-quarter hole.
We'll "try to go back to the drawing board, try to fix some mistakes and keep going," Coach Kevin Wallace said, noting that misreads and dropped passes continue to be a problem.
Injuries have also plagued the Vikings (2-7, 0-3), who finished the game without a senior on the field. Four starters are out with season-ending injuries.
"They were really good players for us," Wallace said. "When you don't have a deep team and have starters (out) like that (it's) pretty hard."
Northwest's junior varsity season is over, so Wallace will have talented freshmen and sophomores he can call on to fill gaps in his thin ranks.
"We're going to get them some playing time," he said. "We'll be back. We've got some good kids coming up. We'll learn from this year and move forward."
Northwest closes out the season the next two weeks against teams that are also struggling. They visit conference foe High Point Central (0-9, 0-2) on Friday and nonconference Asheboro (1-8), a 3A team, Nov. 8.
"I think we've got a good shot against them," Wallace said. "We've got two winnable games and we're going to do everything it takes to win those games."
Northwest Guilford Tennis
Northwest Guilford's tennis standout Elizabeth Weidl won her first round match in the NCHSAA Women's Tennis Individual Championship on Oct. 25, but cramped up midway through her second round match and lost.
Weidl, a senior who won the MidWest 4A Regionals and was one of four No. 1 seeds in the state tournament, defeated Pine Forest's Kelcie Farmer 6-2, 7-6 (9-7) in the first round. Against Sasha DeGroff of Broughton, Weidl defeated her opponent 6-3 in the first match of the second round, and was up 3-0 in the second match when she cramped up, Coach Bill Davidson wrote in a text message.
"She refused to quit, but lost 6-3, 3-6, 1-6," he wrote.
Northwest Guilford Volleyball
Northwest Guilford, a No. 2 seed from the west in the NCHSAA Volleyball State Championship, advanced to the third round after defeating No. 15 seed Lake Norman 3-1 on Tuesday.
The Vikings, which had a first-round bye, will face No. 10 seed Grimsley on Thursday.
Northwest is now 24-2 overall and 8-0 in the Metro 4A Conference. Grimsley finished second in the conference with a 16-9 record overall, 6-2 in the conference. Both of Grimsley's regular season conference losses were to Northwest.
Northwest Guilford Cross country
Northwest Guilford's girls cross country team won the Metro 4A Conference meet at Kernersville's Ivey Redmon Park last week, placing six runners among the top 10.
Senior Paris Stankewich won the meet, clocking 20:39.66 for the three-mile course. She was also named conference's female runner of the year. She and eight others were named to the all-conference team.
The Vikings boys team placed third in the meet. Two were named to the all-conference team.
For the girls, in addition to Stankewich, Sydney Partyka finished second; Haley Irwin, third; Eleanor Long, fifth; and Olivia Smith, seventh. They were all-conference selections as well as Evyn Dean, who finished 13th, Sidney Tsui, 14th, and Ally Petty, 15th.
For the boys, Avery Hurst turned in the best Viking time. He finished the course in 17:40.03 for fifth place. Ethan Long of Page won the race in 16:34.25. Hurst was named to the all-conference team along with Tyler Schmid, who finished 12th.
The Vikings will be at the regionals at Ivey Redmon Park this weekend hoping to advance to the state meet.