BOONVILLE - Starmount kicked off the 2013 season Wednesday night with a tough 1-0 loss to a stout East Surry side in Boonville.
Cole Casstevens netted the only goal of the contest for the Cardinals midway through the first half, as East hung on for the hard-fought victory.
“We started off a little slow and some of that can be contributed to first game jitters, as well as our youth and inexperience,” head coach Dale Draughn explained. “Both teams looked sluggish in the first half. We did not play a bad first half, but there was a lot of things I saw that needed correcting at halftime.
“We tried a new formation and it worked for a little while, but I tried to change it midstream,” he continued.
Ten minutes into the opening half, Casstevens fired a shot that careened off the crossbar and shot straight down. Ram keeper Evan Stinson was outside the goal and grabbed the ball, but the referee signaled that the ball crossed the plain of the goal, giving East an early 1-0 advantage.
Starmount looked for the equalizer in the second half, peppering the net with six shots on goal in the stanza, including two point-blank opportunities, but came up empty.
“I was please with our overall performance, but we have to take advantage of our opportunities and put the ball in the back of the net,” Draughn added.
Stinson and Hunter Johnson split time in goal for the Rams with Stinson recording nine saves on 10 shots, while Johnson stopped the only shot he faced. East’s goalie Andrew Kozlow turned away all 10 shots he saw on the night to record the shutout.
Freshman Soloman Maya led the way for the Rams offensively with three shots on goal in his varsity debut garnering player of the game honors. Nathan Walker and Bryan Jimenez added two shots apiece.
“We have several things to work on, but overall I was pleased with our second-half performance after we made the formation change and player changes, we looked more at home,” Draughn explained. “We must learn from this and grow as well.”
Starmount returns to the pitch Monday night against Yadkin County rival Forbush at 6 p.m.
The Rams will retire 2012 graduate Austin Macemore’s No. 3 jersey during a special halftime ceremony at the game. Macemore, a former soccer player and wrestler for Starmount, lost his battle with cancer in January.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or email@example.com.