The North Surry girls’ soccer team stayed within striking distance of Surry Central well into the second half of Monday’s rivalry match, but the Lady Eagles’ firepower proved to be too much to handle.
Surry Central (10-3-2, 2-0) scored two goals within 2:15 of game action in the second half and received two crucial saves from goalie Makenzie Mooney to clinch a 3-0 win over the Lady Hounds (3-7-2, 0-2).
“There were times where we played great tonight, and there were times where we just weren’t connecting our passes in dangerous spots,” Surry Central coach Matt Richardson said.
The Eagles struck first with a goal 13 minutes into the match. They were creating opportunities and dominating possession early on, but their first breakthrough came thanks to an own goal from North Surry.
Mirian Hernandez whipped in a swerving cross from the left side. A crowd of Surry Central attackers were there, but the ball had a little too much height and speed. Instead it found the outstretched leg of a North Surry defender trying to make a clearance, but the ball bounced backwards and into the back of the net.
The Greyhounds responded well after giving up the opening goal. They locked in defensively and made things very difficult for the Eagles, who went from owning possession to spending extended minutes on the defensive end.
“I’m tickled with how we played tonight,” North Surry coach Julie Gammons said. “We were playing as a unit defensively for most of the night. Surry Central is a very talented team.”
North Surry even came close to equalizing before halftime, but Mooney made the first of her all-important saves. A free kick pass from Karen Gonzalez lofted over the Surry Central defense and into the run of Alexa Hernandez. The junior midfielder was one-on-one with the Surry Central keeper, but Mooney went to ground just as Hernandez tried a low shot and made the stop to keep the score at 1-0.
“Makenzie has just made so many strides as a goalie over the past two years. She’s the best goalkeeper I’ve ever coached, and she’s saved us a ton, just like she did tonight,” Coach Richardson said.
Mooney made another key stop two minutes into the second half. Yannelia Lopez had the one-on-one opportunity this time, but Mooney kept the shutout intact with with another low save.
Ten minutes later, the Surry Central offense found its’ rhythm. The Lady Hounds were under immense pressure inside their own penalty box and had no chance but to try to clear the ball, but the clearance fell right to Central’s Sophia Valle, who rocketed a shot into the low right corner of the net for a 2-0 lead.
“Sophia has to be around the ball at all times,” Richardson said. “Whether we start our attack from the back, or we have high pressure and she’s up there with the forwards.”
The Eagles’ final goal came shortly after Valle’s strike. With 25:45 remaining in the match, Sarah Ford launched a throw-in from the left sideline. The toss found Hernandez at the near post, who found an opening through a narrow angle to give Surry Central a 3-0 advantage.
The win pushes Surry Central into the toughest portion of its schedule in the Western Piedmont Athletic Confernce. The Lady Eagles’ next two matches are against Forbush and West Stokes, starting Friday against the Falcons. Forbush is the top-ranked 2A team in the state according to maxpreps.com.
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16