PILOT MOUNTAIN — Phil Jordan wasn’t mad at his North Surry team when they tied Mount Airy on Tuesday evening, but he was very much of the opinion that the Greyhounds could have done a few things better, and perhaps come out with a more satisfactory result.
Against a young East Surry team on Thursday night, the coach was confident his team would come out on top, but he was more interested in seeing a better process than he was in the actual results.
He got what he was looking for. The Hounds stayed unbeaten this season, scoring their first goal 80 seconds into the match, and rolling to an 8-0 victory over the Cardinals.
“We passed the ball and we got shots, and that’s what you have to do to be a good team,” said Jordan, who felt strongly that his team did too much dribbling and not enough passing against Mount Airy. “We played well, and we had a lot of people who got to play a lot. We shared the ball well. I was very pleased with how we played both offensively and defensively.”
North Surry (6-0-1 overall) tallied four goals in each half of play, the last one coming with just under 15 minutes to play. The Hounds had a few chances to get a ninth goal and end the match early, but the Cardinals kept playing hard to the final whistle and forced North Surry to play the entire 80 minutes of soccer.
East Surry coach Neal Oliver had nothing bad to say about his team’s effort, but said that East Surry still has plenty of improvement to make in order to compete with teams of the Hounds’ caliber.
“We still have a long ways to go. We’re not playing as a team yet,” he said. “North Surry is a class act and I think they will go far. They play really well together and share the ball, and we haven’t learned to do that. We’re making basic mistakes, and hopefully by the time we get to conference play, we can iron some of these problems out.”
A defensive error got North Surry on the board in the second minute of action. Alexis Cortez got a run down the middle of the field in front of the goal, and none of the Cardinals rotated over to mark him. He beat keeper Garret Atkins from about 13 yards out and the Hounds were on the board quickly.
The second goal, six and a half minutes into the match, was more about North Surry skill than anything the Cardinals did wrong. Cortez crossed a ball across the front of the goal to Alfredo Vazquez, who ended up at a difficult angle in front and to the left of the goal, but hit a perfect shot just inside the front-right corner of the net to double the Hounds’ lead.
The Cardinals had some success in the middle part of the first half, during which Diego Rebollar had the team’s first reasonably close shot on goal, but East Surry was soon forced back on its heels, where defenders Javier Ruiz, Ryan Sigmon and Kendal Williams, along with Atkins, had their hands full with the aggressive Greyhound forwards and strikers.
Javier Vera extended the lead to 3-0 in the 29th minute, when he fired a shot that eluded Atkins to his left. About two and a half minutes later, Cortez nearly had the fourth North Surry goal, but this time, Sigmon was able to race over at the last second and clear the ball out of the goal box.
“Javier was a little late getting to the team this year, but he did really well today and is going to see more time on the offensive end,” said Jordan. “He gives us another option, and he’s going to help us a lot.”
There was no stopping the Hounds with a minute and a half to go in the first half, however, Vazquez crossed to Jonathan Cabrera in front of the goal, and he finished to give North Surry a 4-0 lead at the break.
The second half was more of the same, with the Cardinals back on defense at least three-quarters of the time and trying hard to slow down the Hounds, but occasionally making a mistake that inevitably led to a North Surry goal. Mauricio Guevara scored in the 47th minute, and Jonathan Cardoso added another one in the 52nd, as the lead ballooned to 6-0. East Surry had a near-miss not long afterwards, as Leonardo de la Cruz had a well-placed shot from about 20 yards out that just missed high and to the right of the goal. North Surry subbed quite a bit in the latter part of the second half, but Hound keeper Ivan Barrientos stayed in the net and preserved the shutout to the end, even as the Cardinals managed to mount a few threats.
Goals from Victor Casa in the 58th minute and Allen Perez early in the 76th completed the scoring.
De la Cruz had another strong shot on goal with seven minutes to play, but Barrientos snagged it and cleared the ball out for North Surry, as both teams played out the string in the final few minutes.
North Surry returns to action on Tuesday at Wilkes Central (4-1), in a match that will pit the state’s fourth (North Surry) and 13th-ranked 2A teams according to MaxPreps. East Surry plays Monday night at Surry Central.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.