Mount Airy used a strong second half to break away for a 10-1 soccer victory against East Wilkes in the Granite Bears’ season opener on Tuesday night.
The Bears (1-0) took a 2-0 lead on goals from junior Gentry Williamson (second minute) and senior Christian Cabrera (16th minute). The Cardinals pulled to within 2-1 less than 10 minutes before halftime as a steady rain fell at Shelton Stadium.
After intermission, the clouds broke and Mount Airy’s offense poured it on.
Senior Luke Needham scored three goals in the second half for the hat trick for the Bears. Junior Jeremy Chappell scored two goals and added two assists. Freshman Robert Brown and sophomore Malcolm Malone scored, and Williamson had his second goal of the game.
Coach Will Hurley of Mount Airy said his team had trouble finding its footing on the wet field in the first half.
“I like the way we played in the second half,” Hurley said. “Luke had an awesome game up top.”
The Bears lost a wave of players from the team that went 20-1-2 last year and reached the fourth round of the Class 1A playoffs. Mount Airy went into the regional semifinals without a loss before falling to eventual state runner-up North Moore.
Among those players were four starters — Mitchell Brown, Sam Watson and Carlos Carrillo (graduation) and junior Felipe Chavez. Brown and Watson were the top two on the team in assists, and Carrillo was the Bears’ best defender with 496 steals. Chavez, Mount Airy’s leading scorer last year with 41 goals, decided not to play soccer this season. Freshman Jose Perez, No. 2 on the team in scoring, transferred.
Nine of the players listed on this year’s roster are seniors.
Junior goalie Scott Kunkel had four saves for Mount Airy on Tuesday night. The Bears are off until next week when they host Surry Central on Tuesday.
• East Wilkes (0-2) lost to North Surry by a 6-1 score on Monday night. Scoring for the Greyhounds were Alfredo Vazquez (2), Issac Olea, Jonathan Cabrera, Christian Cortes, and Victor Casas. David Martinez had an assist for North. Ivan Barrientos and Angel Luna split time in goal for the Greyhounds (1-0).