Christ the King rolls by Rosewood to 1A boys soccer title repeat

— Drew Hansen’s four-year career as a Christ the King boys soccer player had accomplished about everything a player could want, but he picked up a new accolade on Saturday: MVP of a state title.

Hansen had two goals and an assist to lead the Crusaders to their second straight NC High School Athletic Association 1A boys soccer championship, defeating Rosewood 6-0.

Hansen ends his career with 107 goals, 42 assists, three appearances in the state final and two titles. His coach was ecstatic when he was announced MVP and emotional when talking about him afterwards.

“He’s the best soccer player I’ve coached in 25 years, and that pales in comparison to what kind of young man he is. He’s just incredible,” CTK coach Mark DiPietro said. “He is so deserving of this kind of stuff and I’m just very thankful to have been blessed to have him for four years.”

His team also made NCHSAA history, becoming just the second boys soccer team in title game history to win a game by six goals (the other was Providence, which beat Apex 6-0 for the 4A title in 2000).

Hansen was the fastest player on the MacPherson Stadium pitch, creating early chances for Christ the King (19-3-5) and problems for Rosewood (23-3).

“It’s sort of cliche but the achievements will be forgotten over time,” Hansen said. “Coach Mark (DiPietro) is someone who has absolutely changed my life. … He teaches us not only how to be good soccer players, but good people. …. It really is a second family.”

The Crusaders led 3-0 at halftime, tallying all three goals in the first 18 minutes.

Hansen scored in the seventh minute on an assist from last year’s MVP, Marcos Frias, picking out a spot from the top of the box after Frias made a run down the right side.

In the 15th minute, Olivier Harrison scored on a rebound after two point-blank saves by Rosewood goalkeeper Mick Smith. Three minutes later, a hold in the box resulted in a PK for the Crusaders, and Hansen slotted it to the right side.

“We needed to score in that first 5-10 minutes to really set them back and put them on their heels,” Hansen said. “Once we got it and we were able to get the second one after it, we knew we were in control.”

Rosewood’s Reece Gery, who entered the game having already broken the NCHSAA’s single-season record with 58 assists, sent in a number of dangerous crosses but they were all broken up by Nik Seguin and other CTK defenders.

Seguin added a goal in the 42nd minute to make it 4-0, effectively ending any comeback chance for the Eagles. Frias and Christian Defenbaugh added two more in the 56th and 57th minutes, the latter off a free kick from Hansen.

Christ the King was making its third appearance in four years, having previously won it all in the fall of 2021, while Rosewood was making its first appearance. Both teams were the 1-seeds from their respective regions.

Rosewood had won 16 in a row after back-to-back losses in early September and had outscored its five previous playoff opponents by a 35-1 margin.

The Crusaders’ three losses and five ties came only to teams from higher classifications and they faced stiffer competition in the playoffs, winning its two prior games by 2-1 and 3-2 scores and outscoring its five opponents 24-4.

Prior to the game, the NCHSAA’s sportsmanship award winners from each team were Christ the King’s Harrison and Rosewood’s Jesus Salas Ramirez.


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