“I thought the effort from us was not there at all.”
Lady Bears coach Will Hurley didn’t mince words when discussing Mount Airy’s 2-1 loss to Ashe County on Monday.
“The team that went out there and hustled and wanted the win more wasn’t us, ” Hurley said. “[Ashe County] deserved to win that game.”
It’s been an up-and-down season for Mount Airy (8-6, 3-2). A flurry of injuries led to the team losing four games in a five-game stretch.
The Bears looked to be back on track with three consecutive shutout victories leading up to Monday’s game against Ashe County. The Huskies (6-6, 5-3) were also riding a win streak approaching the showdown with Mount Airy. Ashe County started the season 0-6, and has now won six straight and allowed just four goals in almost a month.
The dominance of the Huskies nearly paid dividends at the start of the match. Ashe had a free kick from 25 yards out with just five minutes removed from the clock. This kick was saved by Bears keeper Samantha Stewart.
Ashe County controlled the tempo handily for the first 12 minutes of the game. Axell Lince and Cheyenne Allen were able to keep the Huskies out of the keeper’s box. Stewart was also able to keep the goal clean.
Jo Snow had the first offense of the game with a run up the middle in the 13th minute. Even though her shot was saved, Snow and Annmarie Bedsaul kept the ball in Husky territory for the better part of 10 minutes.
Baylee Greenwood nearly broke the tie with a firecracker from 25 yards out that just sailed left of the goal.
Ashe knocked on the door soon after with a free kick that was sent through the Bears’ back line to Caroline Current. Current went one-on-one with Stewart and Stewart came away with the ball.
Hurley applauded Stewart’s effort as, “outstanding,” and said that if not for Stewart and Allen’s defensive presence, the goal differential could have been much greater.
The Huskies notched the first goal of the night when Current found the back of the net in the 28th minute.
Both Gizelle Perez and Alexia Arellano had shots in the remainder of the half, but the Bears trailed 1-0 at halftime.
The Bears’ offensive struggles continued into the second half. It wasn’t until the 11th minute that Mount Airy made a threatening run. It was then that Mount Airy evened the score.
Chaos in the Huskies’ box concluded with Snow putting the ball past Ashe’s keeper.
Hurley said that Bears played with a better sense of urgency and communicated much better when the goal was scored. This wouldn’t last, however.
Ashe County kept the ball in Bear territory and had a number of corner kicks. One ended with Current heading the ball past Stewart to take the lead.
Mount Airy kept pushing as the game went on, with Gabbi Troutman even picking up a yellow card going for a 50-50. But as Hurley said, Ashe County wanted the win more and kept the lead until the final whistle.
The Bears don’t have long to get back on track. Not only do the Bears have two more games this week, but every game can impact the team’s playoff chances.
Mount Airy travels to Galax on Wednesday and South Stokes for a conference match on Friday.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith