PILOT MOUNTAIN — Baylee Greenwood was in the fifth grade the last time the Mount Airy Bears defeated rival East Surry in girls soccer. Now a junior, Greenwood is making history one goal at a time.
Greenwood scored her 100th career goal in a 3-0 victory over the Cardinals.
“[Greenwood] is a phenomenal player,” said Mount Airy coach Will Hurley. “She never says a word, just plays the game.
“She’s the type of player you love to have on your team.”
The Bears (6-5, 1-2) have gone through a rough patch in the past few weeks. After starting 4-1 on the season, Mount Airy dropped four of its next five games.
The win over East Surry not only broke a two-game losing streak for the Bears, but gave the team its first conference win.
East (0-10-1, 0-2) has had its fair share of struggles lately as well. Injuries have plagued the Cards and made it harder for the team to produce results on offense.
“We gave up a couple early goals we shouldn’t have and we just couldn’t find the net tonight,” said Cardinal coach Neal Oliver. “We had chances, and we’ve even changed our formation because we haven’t been scoring.”
The game itself started off with a quick goal from Kora Ledezma. Greenwood added to the 1-0 lead with a 25-yard screamer off a rebound. This marked Greenwood’s historic 100th goal.
“She has scored more goals for Mount Airy High School than anybody in the program, boys and girls,” Hurley said.
The crowd stopped to recognize Greenwood’s goal, but there were still 66 minutes of play remaining.
The Cards’ offensive opportunities were limited early in the half due to the continued presence of Mount Airy’s strikers. Brittany Holder really got things started for East Surry with runs up the left side.
One of the better opportunities for East to score came when Kalia Speaks found Mariana Flores cutting through the middle of the field. Flores was able to get a shot off, but it was saved by Mount Airy’s Samantha Stewart.
Tuesday’s game marked Stewart’s third shutout of the season.
Natalie Zachman regulated the midfield and targeted Sara Terwilliger a number of times up the middle, but the Cardinals couldn’t find the back of the net.
The final 10 minutes of the half saw Mount Airy flirt with another goal.
Olivia Malone and Carly Grace Sheets each had a number of good looks at the Cardinal goal but were halted by keeper Abby Key. Oliver applauded Key’s effort in Tuesday’s game.
“She’s improved a whole lot,” Oliver said. “Her mentality has got better and that makes a huge difference.”
The Cardinals showed a lot more life on defense when it came time for the second half. Players like Jessica Clayton and Haley Noel stepped up and kept Mount Airy out of the box.
Oliver said defense was a big focus of the team’s halftime discussion.
“Midfielders weren’t playing enough defense and that was allowing Mount Airy to get the ball to their front line to make shots,” Oliver said. “The back line stepped up [in the second half] and played better, I thought.”
There was a 15-minute span in the second half in which East Surry kept the ball on the Mount Airy half. A give-and-go between Zachman and Noel nearly found the back of the net, but was saved by Stewart.
Momentum shifted when the Lady Bears got a free kick with about 15 minutes remaining. Greenwood’s shot was low and hard and went just wide of the goal.
Following Greenwood’s shot, the Mount Airy defense kept the ball in Cardinal territory for the remainder of the game. The Bears’ back line halted any and all attacks made by East Surry.
Greenwood extended the lead to 3-0 with career goal number 101. The goal came in the form of a penalty kick with just six minutes remaining.
East Surry won’t return to the pitch until April 16 when the Cardinals host Elkin (5-5, 4-3). Mount Airy hosts Galax (1-5, 0-0) tonight and will travel to North Stokes (0-10, 0-4) on Friday.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith