Mountain-Valley 1A/2A Conference
Ashe Soccer Ties Watauga
September 4, 2009Ashe County Huskies
The play of the game was not indicative of the score though as the Huskies dominated the majority of the game, out performing the Pioneers in every statistical category.
Ashe outperformed Watauga in shots, 16-15, fewer saves, 10-13, and won more corners, 7-4. For the majority of the first half, and a good percentage of the second half, Ashe maintained consistent pressure on the Pioneers defensive portion of the field.
Scoring opened up in the tenth minute of the match with the Pioneers striking first, with Michael Rosenburg firing a shot into the back of the net to give the Pioneers a 1-0 lead.
Watauga held their small lead for 23 minutes, until Andrew Lopp, the Huskies' leading goal scorer on the season, took advantage of a ball played down the right wing, and sent a shot towards the far post of the goal. Lopp's shot bounced off the upper portion of the post, and came to rest in the back of the net, tying the score at 1-1, which it stood through halftime, and into the second half.
In the second half, Ashe County struck first in the opening five minutes. Lalo Montayo moved the ball deep into the Huskies' left striker position, and played a perfect through ball to Tyler Keagy, who was tripped up in the penalty box, which following the referee's whistle, was a penalty kick awarded to Ashe. Keagy took the free kick, and drilled the ball into the right thirds of the net, giving the Huskies a 2-1 lead in the 45th minute of the match.
Watauga would even the score again just eight minutes later when Jordan Hamilton scored his lone goal of the game, tying the score at 2-2 with over 25 minutes of action remaining.
"I am really proud of the way the team is playing," commented Huskies Head Coach Richard Gill following the game with Watauga. "They are simply playing really good soccer."
Thus far in the season, Ashe has defeated Bunker Hill in their season opener, 7-1, and then have split their next three games. Their ties however have came against a NCHSAA 3A classification team, and two 4A classification teams, with the 3A being the highly contest and ranked Hibriten Panthers, and the 4A teams being most recently Watauga, and then Alexander Central.
The Huskies came out of the gate attacking as the visitors had two precisely placed shots on goal in the opening five minutes of play. Montayo had a shot from roughly 30 yards out in the third minute of play to sail mere feet over the cross bar, and then Cody McClure had a shot following a corner for Ashe in the fifth minute that forced the Pioneers' keeper to lay out to full length to make a save on the shot.
Ashe's offensive pressure continued after Watauga scored the first goal, and in the 13th minute, Kendrick Leeper, one of the Huskies' first subs of the match stepped onto the pitch with fresh legs and burnt the Pioneers' defense in the first two minutes of action he saw. Leeper received a flick pass from Keagy inside the box, and had a one-v-one with the opposing keeper, but Watauga's keeper once again made the save.
The game looked to be safely sealed at 1-1 heading into the halftime intermission as the game announcer pronounced the game was in official time, meaning the final two minutes of the half. Watauga took advantage of the time, as they produced two scoring opportunities, but freshman goal keeper for Ashe, Thomas Jones stopped both drives, keeping the score tied at 1-1. The first of the two scoring opportunities came from a Pioneers' corner, which Jones came off his line and snagged the ball in midair, preventing a shot by Watauga. The second drive, which the Pioneers were able to get a shot off, was denied by Jones with a laying out save, and the half ended with the score still tied at 1-1.
In the second half, the Huskies continued to battle with the Pioneers, but this half featured big plays from Ashe's defensive unit. McClure and Justin Jones, both of whom are the team's captains, headed up Ashe's defense along with Honor Rognstad, and other Huskies made many key and vital plays during the final 40 minutes of action.
When the game reached the final ten minutes, the Pioneers seemed to catch a second breath of wind, as they were able to fire off five shots in the final minutes. The first of which resulted in a corner for the Pioneers, as Jones was able to force a high shot over the net, preventing a goal.
The ensuing corner kick from the Pioneers was played long, which the Huskies defensive squad cleared out, ending the scoring threat.
Jones finished the game with ten saves in the match and only giving up two goals out of 15 shots by the Pioneers.
The Huskies headed into their main task of the season on Thursday when they opened up Mountain Valley Conference play by hosting the Elkin Elks. Elkin is one of the newcomer schools to the MVAC, and Coach Gill hopes that the tough non-conference schedule will help the Huskies in MVAC play.
Ashe hosted Elkin on Thursday to open MVAC play, and their next scheduled game is on the road at Starmount on Tuesday, and then back home to host the West Wilkes Blackhawks next Thursday.