Lady Eagles catch Sauras for 1-1 tie

By Jeff Linville

April 9, 2014

DOBSON — Surry Central trailed 1-0 near the end of the match before punching in the tying score with 0.0 showing on the scoreboard.

The Lady Eagles tied South Stokes, and both teams were scoreless in overtime to finish the Western Piedmont Conference match in a tie.

The scoreboard had already been turned off as the referees were keeping the last couple of minutes on the field when the Eagles attacked relentlessly until getting the score.

It was a game of great momentum swings, said Central coach Matt Richardson. At times in the first half, Surry Central seemed to control the ball well and had opportunities.

In the second half, the Lady Sauras possessed the ball longer and had several balls into the keeper’s box.

The Sauras’ Leah Smith and Brittany Jones kept the pressure on Central’s defense.

“Their attack works around them,” Richardson said of South Stokes, “and they are very good.”

“Brittany is a great ball winner and distributor, and she’s technically sound,” he said.

About 14 minutes into the second half, Smith got off a hard shot on a diagonal from the left side and found the net for a 1-0 lead.

The Eagles had a good chance to tie the score a few minutes later, but had some bad luck.

Haylee Harrison chased down a long pass near the top of the box. Keeper Kelli Mounce got a hand on the ball, but it bounced out to the left.

With an open net, Harrison rushed to get off a shot as defenders ran back into the box. The ball rolled wide left.

“It’s always assumed that Haylee will produce,” said Richardson. She’s an annual all-conference performer, so it’s logical to assume she’ll come through, but it’s not fair to expect so much from one player.

Still, when the game was on the line, it was Harrison who made the assist on the tying goal.

It was a beautiful cross from the right to the far post, right to Emilee Stanley, said Richardson. Emilee got her head on the ball and scored.

Because it was a conference game, the teams played two 10-minute overtimes, but neither team could score.

The Eagles were pressing more in the last eight or 10 minutes of regulation and kept that going in overtime, the coach noted. He said he felt like the team was going to score a couple of times, but the Sauras held.

Richardson moved defender Victoria Olchowoj up in the formation to put some more pressure on South Stokes. He said Victoria did a good job of distributing the ball and competing for the 50/50 balls, showing great senior leadership.

Sophie Williams used her strong throws to get balls over the Sauras’ heads. One of those gave the Eagles a chance to convert at the far post, but the play didn’t pan out.

Still, Richardson said he was proud of his team the way it rebounded well late in the game.

Keeper Nohemi Lara is getting better and better, learning as she goes, he said. She is becoming more sure of the decisions she is making, and that’s encouraging for the team.

The Eagles travel to Wilkes Central on Friday and then to Forbush for a match with West Wilkes on Saturday.