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News Archive

A 30th Anniversary look back at Greensboro Day School’s first boys’ soccer state championship

At the time, the 1988 varsity boys’ soccer team had the most successful season in the history of GDS boys’ soccer. Following a challenging season in 1987, when the team only won 3 games total, the ’88 squad posted a 19-3-2 record including the state championship. Mr. Carl Fenske served as Head Coach and Coach Kim Burroughs served as an assistant coach on team. Coach Fenske says, “I know that we couldn’t have accomplished all that we did without the contributions that Coach Kim Burroughs made to the team that year.”
Coach Fenske stated, “I never had more fun coaching our group of players than we did in the fall of 1988. The decimal season the previous year was the impetus for our success.” Coach Fenske met with each returning player before the season started and discussed what they needed to do as an individual and what they needed to do as a team. Following individual meeting with players, Coach Fenske recalls the team setting three goals, which he believes led to their success: 
  1. Strive to shut out opponents in every match
  2. Score the first goal within the first 10 minutes of each match
  3. Strive to score 3 or more goals in every match. 
After opening the season by shutting out Smith High School 3-0, the Bengals had a tough 2-0 loss to Page High School, before bouncing back to tie then-powerhouse Grimsley High School by a score of 1-1 on a spectacular 2nd half goal by Danny Wright ’89. All-Conference goal-keeper John Moody ’89 was masterful that night against some of North Carolina’s best marksmen.
The Bengals dominated conference play including a 2-0 shutout of Forsyth Country Day School on goals by William Presson ’90 and Jack May ’89. GDS’ rock-solid defense, led by All-Conference sweeper Dan McNairy ’89 and master keeper, John Moody ’89 and included Will Holt ’91, Jon Bell ’90, Paul Davis ’89, Scott Manchester ’89 and William Presson ’90, allowed only 19 goals all season.
The offense, led by All-State player Matt Olin ’89 and playmaker, Danny Wright ’89, included Jack May ’89, John Yurcisin ’89, Robert Lesley ’89, Rob Sturm ’92, Stephen Patseavouras ’89, Chad Oakley ’90, Scott Windham ’89, Austen Jud ’90, and Christoph Heidenhain ’90, produced 60 goals on the season.
In the semifinals of the state tournament, Jack May ’89 scored one goal and Danny Wright ’89 scored two goals, giving the Bengals an early lead, but then the formidable Bishop offense scored two goals before John Yurcisin ’89 scored a late 2nd half goal put the Bengals on top to win the game, by a final score of 4-3.
The date was November 12, 1988.
The Bengals had advanced to the state finals at Ravenscroft again conference rival, Forsyth Country Day School. The crowd was roaring, the players were psyched, and GDS was determined to win! The proud mothers took formation as they watched their sons play for what may have been the last time while the fathers ran around taking pictures.
Midway through the first half, Bob Lesley ’89 put the Bengals up 1-0. FCDS answered with a goal while running out of time and sent the game into extra time. Coach Fenske remembers this game like it was yesterday, “Our players were exhausted and needed a break, so I substituted six players for the first five minutes sudden death. They were instructed to run our opponent into the ground, which they did!  With the starters is back in the game for the second sudden-death period, we attacked hard on goal forcing a corner kick.” With 3:17 left in sudden-death extra time, Paul Davis ’89 lofted a corner kick into a pack of Bengal players. Freshman Rob Sturm ’92 headed the ball past the FCDS goal keeper to give GDS its first boys’ soccer state championship. Seemingly, hundreds of GDS fans rushed the field to celebrate with the newly crowned state champions!
Senior, Danny Wright ’89, recalls, “I think a big win that helped to get us really believing in ourselves was when we beat Charlotte Latin at home. Austen Jud '90 scored an amazing goal, and we won 1-0. Latin had always been a powerhouse team and was a defending state champion from the season before. We tied Grimsley 1-1 in our next game, and they were a fairly strong team. Losing to Bishop McGuinness at home was a reality check for us, but then we reeled off four straight shutout PACIS victories to close out the regular season. When we entered the state tournament, I think we understood that we had the ability to play with any opponent. When all was said and done after the state championship game, we had finished undefeated away from home. I think that says a lot about our team's character. The main thing I loved about the team was how many of us were friends away from soccer -- across the grades as well. I think that might have made us play a little harder when we got into tough situations. You don't ever want to let down your friends.”
Senior Co-Captain Matt Olin ’89 was named to 2nd team All–State and was Conference Player of the Year and went on to play soccer collegiately at Wake Forest University. Danny Wright ’89 went on to play collegiately at Sewanee. Coach Fenske was named Conference Coach of the Year.
Coach Fenske and Coach Burroughs were together on the sideline again this year coaching the middle school boys’ soccer teams and loving every minute of it! The Middle School boys’ soccer team won the conference championship this fall!
Greensboro Day School develops the intellectual, ethical, and interpersonal foundations students need to become constructive contributors to the world.