A “soring” as opposed to a soaring Eagles soccer team visited the pitch at Ebb Tharpe Stadium in Ronda on Monday evening for a MVAC match with the Cardinals.
Although they were not dominating, the visitors from Moravian Falls (5-7 overall and 5-2 in conference) managed to prevail with a 4-0 victory over the homestanding Cardinals.
“We have been beaten up this year,” said Wilkes Central Head Coach Jim Caudill. “This was Brandon Lopez’s first game back from an ankle injury and he went down again. I felt fortunate to come away with a win tonight.”
Both teams had opportunities, but the Eagles were able to capitalize on three of their 11 shots on goal while East (2-10-2 overall and 1-6 in conference) netted none of its seven strikes at the pipes.
“We got some good looks,” said East Wilkes Head Coach Austin Bare. “But the shots just did not go. I feel like our kids need to do a better job communicating with each other on the field and they did better at this during the second half than they did in the first which gave us more opportunities.”
Thirteen minutes into the contest, Wilkes Central had built a 2-0 lead with goals by Lopez and Bram Koch.
In the 32nd minute, Lopez got another clean look at the Cardinal goal. Cardinal Keeper Jose Juarez repelled his shot but a Cardinal defender inadvertently headed the loose ball into the East Wilkes goal for the third Eagle goal.
Less than 10 seconds later, Lopez went down again with his injured ankle and had to be carried off the field. “I don’t know if he will be able to play in our next game on Wednesday,” said Caudill.
Lopez’s absence seemed to take some out the wind out of the Eagle sail as they cruised into halftime with a 3-0 lead.
In the second 40-minute period, both teams seemed to play pretty evenly. Central took four shots on goal while East launched five.
In the 53rd minute, Alejandro Oqueli fired an acrobatic shot on an assist from Koch into the Cardinal nets.
Juarez had four saves for the Cardinals but also surrendered three goals. Huston Hall had two second-half saves.
Eagle Keeper Roman O’Sullivan had a solid performance and he pitched a shutout and delivered seven saves.
“We played better in the second half than we did in the first,” said Bare. “I am excited to begin the second half of the season and get the opportunity to play some of the teams that we lost to early in the season again.”
“Sometimes I feel like we are like a chameleon,” said Caudill. “We play great against great teams and struggle against lesser ones. We need to do the little things right. We struggled tonight to get the win but we did win.”