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All-Area Boys Soccer

Ashley's Justin Savinon is the 2012 StarNews soccer player of the year after recording eight shutouts and allowing 0.41 goals per game. (Photo by Photo by Paul Stephen)

Emotion and sports can be a dangerous combination.

When you add your own feelings to something you're already passionate about, it can cause you to sometimes overthink a play or overreact to a call, and ultimately lead to your downfall.

Other times, however, it can push people to become the best at what they do.

Such was the case for Ashley's Justin Savinon, this year's StarNews All-Area Player of the Year for boys soccer.

"It all started when I was 4 years old," the senior goalkeeper said. "My mom got me involved with soccer because I had so much energy. It helped distract me from my parents' divorce."

Savinon says he has not spoken with his father since. Instead of allowing it to become a excuse for not succeeding, Savinon turned it into motivation.

"You're either standing behind or beside me," he said. "If they're not willing to stand next to me and help me push forward, at least they're standing behind me, out of my way."

Savinon's brilliance on the field began to show itself both locally and beyond the area. Starting at age 11, there have youth team trips to Italy, Costa Rica, Argentina and Mexico and England. But a random act of volunteering sent the prolific striker into the net.

"I played up two age groups as a forward and that's how I became a keeper," Savinon said. "I just randomly went in goal one day, but I became better at it, taking it in as an instinct. It's not everyone's first instinct to put themselves in front of a ball coming at you."

Soon, Savinon realized he had full control over the outcome of the game.

"I love being a keeper because I love being able to take matters into my own hands and be the deciding factor between a win or a loss," he said. "If I was to save everything, we can win. No matter how many goals you score you can still lose. I'm a guy that likes to do everything."

As he progressed and improved, more people took notice, including an audience earlier this year at the West Ham United International Academy in London.

"It was one of the greatest experiences of my life," he said. "They have top-notch keeper coaches. My goal is to train with the best, against the best, and for the best. At the end of the day, everyone's competing against you to help you.

"Basically, they told me they definitely want me to return if I don't commit to a college team."

While the tug of professional soccer is always strong, Savinon chose instead to enroll next fall at Charlotte, which was the NCAA national runner-up in 2011.

"I'm a very strong believer of always having a backup plan," Savinon said of the decision. "Everything I do, I want to make sure if all else fails; I have something to fall back on. The coaching staff is unbelievable. It's definitely somewhere I'd picture myself living for four years. College is something I really don't want to miss out on."



All-Area Boys Soccer

GK: Justin Savinon, Sr., Ashley (Player of the Year): Recorded eight shutouts and allowed 0.41 goals per game for Mideastern Conference champions. All-State selection, committed to UNC-Charlotte.

F Taylor Webster, Sr., Topsail: Led Topsail with 12 goals scored.

F Ricardo Olivares, Sr., New Hanover: Scored 18 goals to lead the Mideastern Conference.

F Scottie Melvin, Sr., West Brunswick: NCSCA All-region and All-State selection, despite missing significant time with with injury..

M Chris Davis, Sr., New Hanover: Sparked Wildcats' run to the Class 4A state semifinals. Two of his 7 goals were game-winners.

M Ryan Kawczynski, Sr., Laney: All-State selection had three goals and two assists while playing all over the field.

M Sammy Johnson, Sr., Topsail: Scored 11 goals and 6 assists.

D Gus Piepmeyer, Jr., Hoggard: 7 goals, 3 assists, captained Hoggard's team. All-State selection.

D Grant Dunlop, Sr., New Hanover: Heart of a New Hanover defense which surrendered only 6 goals in its final 14 games.

D Kevin Bell, Sr., Laney: Three-year starter had three goals and three assists.

D Gary O'Neill, Sr., Ashley: All-State selection is committed to UNCW for the fall of 2013.

Second Team

F Carlos Lainez, Sr., Laney; F Luke Snyder, Soph., Coastal Christian; M Logan Chaucer, Sr., New Hanover; M Shane Stephens, Sr., Cape Fear Academy; M Zach Morgan, Soph., Wilmington Christian; M Daniel Harris, Sr., Ashley; M Devon Esteves, Sr., Topsail; D Pete Wildeboer, Sr., Laney; D Joe Englese, Sr., Topsail; D John Gupton, Sr., Laney; GK Stephen Lapp, Jr., Laney

Honorable Mention

Ashley: Tony Mack, Durwin Hamilton. Cape Fear Academy: Trey Moore, Dennis Looney. Coastal Christian: Peter Chapman. East Bladen: Isarel Evans. Hoggard: Ismail Mohammed, Doug Pickett, Carson Ratcliff. Laney: Brian Pinder. New Hanover: Francisco Garcia, Skyler DeYoung. Tospail: Alec Webster, Brage Beveridge, Paul Swick. West Brunswick: Cody Postitch. Wilmington Christian: Andrew Hardee. 

All-Conference Teams

Mideastern Conference

First Team: Laney–Kevin Bell, John Gupton, Ryan Kawczynski, Stephen Lapp, Pete Wildeboer. New Hanover–Logan Chaucer, Chris Davis, Grant Dunlop, Francisco Garcia, Tyler George, Ricardo Olivares. Hoggard–James Clinard, Brennan Pearson, Austin Schmidle, Gage Tillotson. Ashley–Austin Davis, Daniel Harris, Tony Mack, Gary O'Neill, Justin Savinon, Victor Sosa. New Bern–Durant Mangum, Cody Tyson. Rose–Andrew McKinnon, Andre Pofahl.

Second Team: Hoggard–Walter Bennett, Jack Sordellini. Ashley–Britton Deets, Durwin Hamilton, Thomas Schimpf, Myles Strickland. Rose–Justin de Queiroz. New Hanover–Skyler DeYoung, Bryan Gunnell, Matt Johnson. New Bern–Ryan Fox. Laney– Carlos Laniez, Noah Little, Brian Pinder. 

Player of the Year: Justin Savinon, Ashley. Coach of the Year: Giles Roberts, Ashley. Sportsmanship: New Hanover

Waccamaw Conference

First Team: East Bladen–Israel Evans, Joel Cromartie. North Brunswick–Durvin Guillen, Damian Salinas. South Brunswick–Gavin Dail, Sal Beacham, Ryan Dail, Michael Hitt. South Columbus–Austin Chapman. West Bladen–Brett Jackson. West Brunswick–Cody Postich, Luis Espinoza, Connor Johnston. Whiteville–Tanner Morningstar, Scottie Davis.

Second Team: East Bladen–David Garcia, Alex Felder. North Brunswick–Salvador Dominguez, David Price. South Brunswick–Will Jones, Kyle Reitzel, Tommy Schettz, Matt Clifton. South Columbus–Logan Fowler. West Bladen–Colby McClean. West Brunswick–Sam Zeng, Jay Craig, John McNeill. Whiteville–Akil Green, Jordan Gentry.

East Central Conference

Clinton–Juan Alvarado, Eric Bradshaw, Colin Faulkner, Wil Pearson, Will Reagan, Casey Yang. Croatan–Garrett Bridgewater, Gunnar Tolston. East Duplin–Joseph Corte-Real, Seth Russ, William Madrigal. Northside –Alex Hull. Richlands–Trey Smith, Jax Eddleman, Marcus Patino. Swansboro–Ian Cole, Jay Dolph, Bramwell Pace, Austin Shedd. Topsail–Sammy Johnson, Taylor Webster, Devon Esteves, Joe Englese, Will DesMaris.

Cape Fear Independent Conference

Cape Fear Academy: Shane Stephens, Trey Moore, Dennis Looney. Honorable Mention: David Durham, Ben Tillier