North Surry’s soccer team earned two big wins on Wednesday and Thursday night, and the Lady Greyhounds made a little history in the process.
North earned its first conference win of the 2018 season on Thursday night, routing visiting Walkertown 7-1 to earn a victory in Western Piedmont Athletic Conference play for the first time in more than five years. That would have been noteworthy enough for the Lady Hounds, if not for what they did the night before.
North Surry’s players were convinced they had been the better team five days earlier, when they lost a match by a single goal at Wallace Shelton Stadium. Keeping the Lady Hounds from victory was a simple inability to put the ball in the net, despite an edge in possession time.
On Wednesday night, North Surry got the job done, blanking the Lady Bears 2-0 for their first win over Mount Airy in as long as anyone could remember.
“I know it’s been a while,” said Lady Hound assistant coach Eric Jessup. “It’s been at least 10 or 11 years since North Surry beat Mount Airy in soccer.”
MaxPreps has records for both schools dating back to the 2012 season. On May 1, 2014, the Lady Bears and Lady Hounds played to a 1-1 draw. The other 12 meetings dating back six years had all been Mount Airy victories, and aside from the Lady Bears’ 3-2 win last Friday, few of those matches had even been close.
North had lost three straight matches, including that one, when Mount Airy arrived in Greyhound country for the rematch on Wednesday night. But all three had been against good teams, and the Lady Hounds believed they could turn the page in the history of this rivalry.
“I knew when we played them close last Friday that we could play with them,” said Jessup. “The girls really believed in themselves and thought they could beat Mount Airy. They had a lot of confidence coming into that match.”
The Lady Hounds came out with guns blazing. After just 70 seconds of play, Leslie Ramirez put the ball in the back of the net and North Surry had the early lead. Following the kickoff, the hosts quickly regained possession and went on the attack yet again. After just 2:55, Adaly Hernandez scored and North Surry went on top 2-0.
The quick strike paid dividends in two ways. First, it gave the Lady Hounds an early lead of multiple goals, obviously. Secondly, it forced the Lady Bears (5-5) to deploy leading scorer Baylee Greenwood as a defender.
“We had a lot of momentum after Adaly’s goal,” said Jessup. “Coach Hurley put (Greenwood) on defense to slow our momentum down, and it was a good move for them.”
The move was successful in that it prevented North from scoring again, but it also limited Greenwood, who was third in the state with 66 goals last year and who already has 14 this season, in the number of touches she could gain on offense.
Mount Airy was shut out for the first time this season.
As for the Lady Hounds, they faced perhaps an even bigger challenge the next night, when they had to come off cloud nine long enough to get a much-needed conference win — both to end the years-long losing streak and to position themselves for a possible playoff run.
Neither proved to be an issue. Hernandez had a hat trick and Ramirez scored twice as North Surry won easily.
“We took a lot of shots and played really well tonight,” Jessup said on Thursday after the win over the Wolfpack. “Coach (Julie) Gammons and I are pleased with how we’re clicking.”
Michelle Leyva and Michelle Ramos each scored one goal in the victory.
North Surry, which hadn’t won more than three times in any season this decade, improved to 5-3-1 overall.
The Lady Hounds will travel to Surry Central (5-5) on Monday night.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.