Since losing 1-0 to Hough High on April 7, the Hopewell girls soccer team’s offense has exploded with 17 goals in four consecutive victories. That included a 4-3 win over Lake Norman High, the first loss for a team that shares first place in the I-MECK 4A conference with Hough.
Hopewell coach Robb Bolar said it was a defensive formation that led to the offensive outburst against Lake Norman. The Titans now bring a center midfielder back on defense, putting five players on the back line.
The new defensive formation hasn’t taken away from senior center midfielder Katelyn Faucette’s offense. She leads the team with 18 goals.
Further proof of Bolar’s defense-leads-to-offense theory was found when he didn’t play five back in a 2-0 victory over rival North Mecklenburg on April 28. In that game, the Titans failed to score in the first half with a more traditional defense. After halftime, Bolar quickly returned to the five-player formation, and the Titans scored twice to improve to 10-4-1, 8-4 in the I-MECK.
“I didn’t start the formation against North Meck and it was 0-0 at half,” said Bolar. “I got a little goofy in the first half. We went back to it in the second half.”
Hopewell has two games remaining against I-MECK adversaries Mallard Creek (Wednesday, May 4) and Vance (Thursday, May 5). The match against the Mavericks (11-5-4 overall, 7-4-1 in the league) will determine the conference’s third seed for the 4A state playoffs. If the Titans win or tie the Mavericks – and handle their business against winless Vance – they will finish in third place.