DOBSON — The Mount Airy Bears boys’ soccer team had a season of firsts in the fall of 2017, including the school’s first-ever victory over Surry Central. Not wanting to be outdone by their male counterparts, the Lady Bears defeated the Lady Golden Eagles 1-0 on Monday for the first time in the program’s history.
“I’m just so overwhelmed because I can’t believe we actually did it, finally,” said Bear senior Kora Ledezma.
The Bears have been close to defeating the Eagles in years past, but have never been able to down their county foe.
“It’s always been a battle,” said Mount Airy coach Will Hurley.
The Eagles opened the game with flurry of offense in the first 10 minutes. Joley Cabe and Taylor Cochran flirted with a goal while Olivia Olchowoj kept the ball in Bear territory.
It wasn’t until the ninth minute that Mount Airy really made the Central keeper sweat. A 20-yard free kick from Baylee Greenwood soared just inches below the crossbar, but was saved by Eagle keeper Lizbeth Marmolejo.
Mount Airy was able to generate more offense following Greenwood’s free kick. This didn’t limit the amount of runs made by the Eagles, however. A slew of Central players took long shots at the goal around the 17-minute mark.
Another free kick from Greenwood in minute 19 nearly broke the tie. Marmolejo made a diving effort to keep the Central shut out alive.
Central countered with a through ball by Olchowoj to Cochran. Cochran nearly had a one-on-one with Bear keeper Samantha Stewart before Cheyenne Allen made a sliding save.
It wasn’t until minute 26 that the Bears broke the seal with an initial goal. Greenwood took the ball up the left sideline before crossing to Olivia Malone. A streaking Malone redirected the ball into the Eagles’ goal, giving Mount Airy a 1-0 advantage.
Cabe responded with a run of her own after the Bears’ goal that went just wide of tying the match. Cabe and Shelia Urquiza pounded shots at Stewart, but the keeper kept her slate clean until halftime. Mount Airy led 1-0 after 40 minutes of play.
Cochran wasted little time trying to score in the second half. The striker pressured the keeper just 20 seconds in, but her shot was stopped by Stewart.
Central out-shot Mount Airy 5-0 in the first 17 minutes of the half. In this time, a pair of corner kicks by the Eagles provided the biggest threat to the Bears’ lead. Chaos in the Bears’ box nearly resulted in the ball soaring into the net.
Defender Leslie Chavez of Surry Central went down with an injury in minute 56. Chavez would not return to the game.
Allen and Kamya Rose worked to keep the Bears’ goal guarded as the entire Central team pressed into Mount Airy’s half of the field.
Around the 58 minute mark, Greenwood found Malone for a through ball that marked the Bears’ first real offense of the second half. This resulted in a bigger offensive presence by Mount Airy for the next 10 minutes.
Both teams got caught playing kickball for a few minutes as time winded down. Central tried to even the game up with runs up each sideline, while the Bears focused more on their defensive effort.
Cochran and Cabe found themselves outnumbered when making runs in the closing minutes, which made it difficult to find an open look at the goal.
Cabe had the final attack of the game with less than a minute remaining. The striker made it through a number of Mount Airy defenders on her way to the goal. Just as she entered the 18-yard box, time expired and the 2018 Bears officially made history.
Hurley applauded his players’ efforts in the win just 48 hours after a blowout loss to Davie County.
“A lot of them were still tired from Saturday’s game but I think in their minds they’re like, ‘It’s a good time for us to get a win, regardless of who [the opponent] was,’” Hurley said.
It may be early in the season and the Bears are missing some key players, but Hurley said they put it all together when they needed to in Monday’s game.
”We didn’t communicate enough in the first half, and I think in the second half we communicated a lot better,” Hurley said. “But I liked how we played in this game. I don’t know that I would’ve changed anything other than a little more talking.”
Mount Airy (1-1) will be back in action on Thursday when the Bears host Elkin. Central (0-2) will travel to Elkin on Wednesday in the Elks’ season opener.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith