DOBSON — Playing three soccer matches in five days takes a toll on a player. Playing three soccer matches in near-freezing weather against quality opponents is even less ideal.
Surry Central (1-3) began its’ soccer season on February 28. Since then, the Eagles have played in four games, three of which came in the past five days.
None of the losses have been blowouts, and all have come at the hands of team’s well over .500. Central’s three losses came from teams that are now a combined 8-2.
Eagles coach Matt Richardson held his head high following Friday’s game and encouraged his team to do the same.
“Every girl played today and I felt like every girl played with heart and with passion for a full 80 minutes,” Richardson said.
In the middle of the Eagles’ rough week was a road game against a tough Elkin squad. It was here that Central earned a 2-0 victory. Leticia Valenzuela notched the first goal for Surry Central off an assist from Jessica Martinez. The team’s second goal was scored by Magdalena Gonzalez off a Taylor Cochran assist.
The win against Elkin was a bright spot amid a rough start for the Eagles. But the adversity has only made the team more prepared as they approach conference play.
“In spite of what we’ve dealt with so far, with a little bit of a rocky start record-wise and some misfortune as far as injuries go, the way our team is continuing to stay together and work is encouraging,” Richardson said.
As far as Friday’s game was concerned, Surry Central controlled the opening six minutes with constant offense. It just so happened that on the Rams’ first counterattack, they found the back of the net.
The second Starmount goal came in minute 27 when forward Molly Maske fired a shot from the 18-yard box that nearly flew straight through the net.
“They made some great plays off some great counterattacks,” Richardson said. “We’ve got to fix a few things defensively to try and prevent that and try to figure out how to get some shots on goal ourselves.”
But the Eagles weren’t out of the game quite yet. Sheila Urquiza and Joley Cabe advanced the ball into Ram territory with a series of give-and-go passes. Cabe made a number of runs up the right side but just couldn’t get the ball in the goal.
Jessica Martinez regulated the midfield for Central and was the start of many of the Eagles’ runs in the game.
On defense, keeper Alea Doby made a number of saves to keep the lead to just two.
Richardson called it, “disheartening,” to be down 2-0 at halftime despite his team’s effort.
Central stepped up in the second half and pounded shots at Starmount’s goal. Jovanna Tello nearly had the Eagles on the board at 49’ but her shot was saved.
Both squads battled as if the scoreboard read nil-nil. Yellow cards were awarded to Starmount’s Kimberly Catalan and Central’s Martha Antunez at 68’. Starmount coach Dale Draughn was also presented a yellow card minutes later.
The Rams put the final nail in the coffin with just two minutes left on the clock. Hailey Gomez dribbled 50+ yards up the right sideline before crossing to Alyssa Yanez to score.
As time expired, Tello fired a shot from 25 yards that found its way in the back of the net. The Eagles celebrated their goal, but it was soon called off by the official, ending the game with Starmount on top 3-0.
The schedule doesn’t get any easier from here for the Golden Eagles. Richardson’s team will be back on the pitch March 12 against South Stokes (2-2).
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith