Using his head

Wilkes Central freshman Kevin Lugo-Para heads the ball as East Wilkes sophomore Cory Phillips defends on the corner kick in Ronda on Oct. 26. Lugo-Para had one of Central’s two goals in a 2-0 win over the Cardinals.

Host Lincolnton threw a clean sheet at Wilkes Central on Monday, scoring two second-half goals to take a 2-0 win in the first round of the 2A state soccer playoffs.

Senior Zander Harrison scored on a penalty kick after the break for the Wolves, giving his club a 1-0 lead. Later, he also assisted on senior Kenny Trejo’s goal.

“The game was a tough one; our boys were matched up well,” said Eagle Coach Matt Matthews. “We knew their game plan and met it with an equal plan and had many opportunities to attack.”

Matthews said it was his club’s best defensive effort all season, “held together by Eli Battle, Joey Andreski and Alejandro Oquell. Our keeper, Miguel Mariano, played an amazing game. It was hands down his best game of the season where he offered up multiple saves and intelligent plays to come out and win balls in his box.”

Lincolnton senior Samuel Carpenter posted the shutout, denying eight Eagle shots on goal.

“No one expected us to be here, but we held the second seed to only two penalty kicks,” Matthews continued. “There is no reason to be down, but instead heads held high. They were a joy to coach. Brooke (Bentley) and I are so thankful for the opportunity to have shared this season with them.”

The second-seeded Wolves powered up to 17-0-3 on the season and will host Forest Hills on Thursday in the second round.

The campaign of the 31st-seeded Eagles ended at 7-11-1. “We lose several seniors but are blessed to have 10 freshman who got a lot of playing time,” noted Matthews. “I look forward to what our soccer has coming in the future. This team is one to watch in the next few years.”

Eagles blank Cards

Wilkes Central got two second-half goals to edge East Wilkes, 2-0, in blustery Ronda on Oct. 26.

The Eagles completed a season sweep of the Cardinals and have won the last 23 matchups against East, throwing clean sheets in 14 of those victories.

The nonconference teams played through a scoreless first half that featured wind gusts in excess of 35 miles per hour.

The Eagles had a couple shots on goal in the first half that bounded off the crossbar. East’s goalie, senior Eddie Garcia, also made a few athletic saves.

Central finally broke through with about 23 minutes left in the match. Off freshman Roberto Franco’s right corner kick, freshman Kevin Lugo-Para headed in a ball in heavy traffic for a 1-0 lead.

The Eagles added an insurance goal with about 17 minutes remaining. Junior Johnie Randy put one in the back of the net inside the 18-yard box, from about 30 feet out.

Central’s keepers, starter Miguel Mariano and late-second-half replacement Payton Holbrook, combined on the shutout, with Mariano recording four saves. Garcia posted 16 saves for the hosts.

Central bettered its overall record to 7-9-1 while East’s overall mark dipped to 3-14.

Elkin boots East

Elkin clinched second place in the Northwest 1A Conference after a 7-1 win Thursday over visiting East Wilkes.

The Cardinals, who concluded a brutal stretch of three games in three days, got a first-half goal from sophomore Ty Ferguson. He was assisted on the goal by junior Brandon Beck.

The Buckin’ Elks finished 9-3 in league play and 12-6-1 overall. East’s season ended with marks of 3-9 and 3-16.

Forbush goes 12-0

Forbush put the final touch on an unbeaten Foothills 2A Conference season with a 6-1 win over Wilkes Central in East Bend on Oct. 27.

The Falcons finished 12-0 in league play and are 16-4 overall. The Eagles concluded the regular season at 7-10-1 overall and 4-7-1 in conference, good for fifth place.

Central’s goal came off a corner kick that was knocked around inside the box until Kevin Lugo-Parra gained control and sent it past the Forbush keeper.

“We played 65 minutes of really good soccer and 15 minutes of mental breakdowns,” said Matt Matthews, the Eagle coach.

Rams blank Cards

Starmount shut out East Wilkes, 3-0, in Boonville on Oct. 27.

The Rams finished the regular season at 10-6-3 overall and 8-3-1 in the Northwest 1A, just outside league’s second guaranteed playoff berth. Starmount will likely receive an at-large bid in the 1A state playoffs.

The Cardinals backpedaled to 3-15 overall and 3-8 in league play. East will finish no worse than fifth place in the league standings.

Hounds shut out Vikes

North Surry posted a slim 1-0 victory over North Wilkes in Mount Airy on Oct. 27.

Jair Gonzalez scored the game’s only goal, off an assist by Salvador Rodriguez. Jimmy Burnette made seven saves en route to the shutout in goal.

The Greyhounds finished the regular season 7-9-1 overall and third in the Foothills 2A with a 5-6-1 mark. The Vikings concluded the season at 5-12-1 overall and 2-10 (seventh in league).

Forbush blanks North

Forbush clinched the Foothills 2A Conference championship after a 7-0 shutout of North Wilkes in East Bend on Oct. 26.

The Falcons rose to 15-4 overall and 11-0 in league play. The Vikings dipped to 5-11-1, 2-9.

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