DOBSON — The Golden Eagles survived a first-round scare with South Stokes in the state 2A soccer playoffs.
Surry Central scored a goal in each half for a 2-0 win. The Eagles will host Lake Norman Charter Saturday evening for the second round.
In their first two meetings, the Eagles won 6-0 and 4-1.
It is hard to beat a team three times, said Coach Blake Roth. After two convincing wins, Roth told his team to be wary because they hadn’t seen the Sauras best game yet.
South Stokes was better, he said, but the Eagles also were sloppy and a little frenetic at times.
“Our touch was subpar on the ball tonight,” he said. “We kept trying to force the play rather than let it come to us.”
South Stokes came in with basically the same game plan as before, but was able to be more effective, the coach said. The Sauras have a height advantage, so they tried to keep the ball high with throw-ins and kicks to try to negate Central’s speed.
Too much of the time, the Eagles were content to play that way with them, said Roth.
“Props go to Coach Danny Bowman and the Sauras,” he said. “They did exactly what they needed to do. We were just able to get through their defense twice.”
In the 30th minute, Adrian Gonzalez sent a nice ball over the top, the coach said.
“As the keeper was coming out to the top of the box, Jose Avalos flicked it right over his head and into an empty goal,” he said.
It was a head’s up play, and Jose barely got there in time. Playing the ball on the ground wouldn’t have worked, so he had to flip it up.
“In the first half, South Stokes applied the pressure on us,” he said. Still, Central took a 1-0 lead into the break.
In the second half, Gusto Christobal and Fredy Cruz had a nice two-man game, passing the ball back and forth up the field before Cruz put the ball away.
After that, Roth had four defenders back with the keeper and was content to burn clock and hold the lead.
As the players were leaving the field at the end, Roth said keeper Artemio Cortez told him, “Look at them, not one of them is happy with this win.”
The next game is against Lake Norman, which was the state runnerup in 1A last year.
Roth said he told the guys to stay humble, stay hungry and realize that they didn’t play their best soccer on this night.
Roth said the start time likely will be 6 p.m. Saturday.