The North Surry soccer team had two things on its mind Wednesday evening. One was avenging a loss that they felt they shouldn’t had suffered. The other was moving up in the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference standings.
The Greyhounds accomplished both, defeating Atkins 3-1 to move into outright third place in the conference standings with three weeks to play.
The Hounds, who entered the season lightly regarded but have been competitive all season, improved their record to 6-7 overall and 3-3 in the WPAC. North leads West Stokes by a full game and West Stokes by a half-game in the standings.
The Hounds led 2-0 at the break, only to see Atkins score midway through the second half. North Surry sweated it out until Javier Vera scored the clinching goal with 1:06 remaining in the contest.
Other than a 1-0 setback at the hands of the Camels on Sept. 11, North Surry’s losses have all been at the hands of the area’s top teams — North has lost to Bishop McGuinness, Starmount, Mount Airy, Forbush and Surry Central. However, the loss to Atkins (7-8-1, 1-5 WPAC) rankled the team.
“This was a big win for us tonight,” said North Surry head coach Eric Jessup. “We lost to them 1-0 the first time out, and we felt like that was a game we should have won.”
In the rematch, Vera put the Hounds up 1-0 on a goal in the fifth minute of the contest. North appeared to take control of the match when Joseph Rangel made it 2-0 in the 26th minute of play, but the Hounds couldn’t add to their lead before the break.
The Camels, who needed the win to remain in contention for the state playoffs, cut the lead to 2-1 with a goal in the 58th minute, and both teams responded in the same manner. Atkins redoubled its attacks on the North Surry goal, while the Hounds concluded the best defense was a good offense, and began aggressively going after the Camels.
“It was really close back and forth,” said Jessup. “After they scored, we were trying to get the two-goal lead back and they were trying to tie it up. The teams just went up and down the field.”
It wasn’t until late in the 79th minute that the Hounds won the battle.
“It was a rebound shot, about 20 yards out on the left side,” Jessup said. “Javier got a foot on it, and it just took two or three bounces on the ground and went in.”
North travels to Walkertown on Monday night.