Last week, the Golden Eagles (20-2-2) defeated Lexington 4-3 and Central Davidson 4-3 to face East Lincoln (15-7-2) in the 2-A West division.
Central struck first as Leonel Perez collected a corner kick as it bounced off a defender and put it back.
With only 20 seconds before halftime, Bernardo Leandro scored for a 2-0 lead.
Ten minutes into the second half Orlando Perez gave the team some breathing room with a score. Then 5 minutes later Edwin Alonso scored off a direct kick. The final goal came from Leandro with 15 minutes left.
“Joel Gonzalez had an assist and played a great game in the middle,” said Coach Blake Roth. Juan Lopez added two assists for the Eagles, who advance to play Lincolnton Saturday, with the time and place to be announced soon.
The victory last night runs the team’s winning streak to 13 games since a 2-0 loss to Bishop McGuinness Sept. 21. Over the last 11 regular season games, Surry Central outscored its opponents 78-4, including 14-0 and 12-0 dismantlings of North Stokes.
“Our defense really stepped up tonight,” the coach said. “In the first two playoff games, the defense fell apart and allowed six goals, which we haven’t done all year. ... It bothered me more than anything. We had so many shutouts in a row.
During that 78-4 scoring run, Roth said those four goals were all hard-fought, well-deserved goals for the opponents, but the six goals by Lexington and Central Davidson weren’t merited.
“I told the team anything can happen in the playoffs, but the team that makes the fewest mental errors usually comes out on top.”
To rebound and shut out a quality oppnent shows that the team is correcting errors and minimizing those mental errors, he said.
Surry Central was ranked seventh in the state for 2-A before the match, while East Lincoln was ranked 15th. Forbush, who beat Ashe County 6-0 last night, is ranked second in the state. Starmount, ranked sixth, lost to third-ranked Shelby 5-1 Wednesday. Only eight teams remain in the 2-A playoffs.
If Surry Central defeats Lincolnton, then it could have a chance for revenge against Shelby, last year’s champion, which beat the Eagles in the semifinals.