BROWNS SUMMIT — East Surry’s Souli Boutis and Forbush’s Robert Cornelius helped the West All-Stars beat the East 4-1 on Tuesday night in MacPherson Stadium at Bryan Park.
East Surry couldn’t bring home the state 1A title, but Boutis got a nice consolation prize as the West team took control in the second half after a closely contested first period.
Boutis and Cornelius both started for the West squad and played heavy minutes in a humid night made worse by a brief shower at the end of the first half.
Neither team scored during action in the half, but West went ahead on a penalty kick.
Tresor Mbuyu was taken down in the left side of the box, then hit a low screamer into the left corner at the 16:32 mark.
Cornelius, playing on the back line, had several takeaways to keep East from threatening.
Late in the first half, with the rain coming down, East had its best chance. A through ball up the left side gave Matt Brickhouse a chance to go one-on-one with the keeper.
Brickhouse hit a high shot over John Wierman’s head that looked like it would drop down right into the net. Greyson Frye came streaking back to the box and managed to get his back in front of the ball to block it away.
Early in the second half, the West would get an insurance goal.
Boutis ran to the ball, made a quick touch to Mbuyu, who hit ahead to Seth Jones. The keeper came out, and Jones sent a low roller by the keeper’s left side and into the right corner of the net at the 36:34 mark.
Just three minutes later, the West added another score.
A through ball raced up the right third of the field, and Hector Gutierrez outran everyone to the ball and sent it past the keeper at 33:28.
Boutis was involved in the next score as the West earned a corner kick.
Boutis sent the ball over the mob of players to the far post. A teammate hit the ball toward the goal, but the keeper got there in time to make the block. Luckily, Mbuyu was in the area and darted forward to send the deflection into the net for his second goal at the 26:13 mark.
Mbuyu would be awarded the game ball as MVP.
In the final minute, East’s Alex DeOliveira scored off a header from a bending pass from the right side by Anthony Howard that earned a collective ooooh from the crowd.
After the game, Boutis said the field became an issue after the first-half shower. It had been hot and dry at practices, and none of the guys brought their longer cleats for soft turf.
Considering the way the second half played out, he said that might have played in the West’s favor as they seemed to adapt better.
As for developing chemistry with a team full of strangers, Boutis said these players weren’t strangers to him. From playing club ball and traveling all over the state, he said he already knew most of the players on both sides.
Cornelius didn’t come out a single time in either half, playing for his high school coach, Seth Davis.
He said he was used to that as a defender because it helps the continuity of the back line to stay together the whole time.
Since soccer season was months ago, Cornelius said he has been doing a lot of running this summer to stay in shape.
As Cornelius was talking, Adam Cosgrove, Community School of Davidson, came over to say, “This was the MVP right here, in my opinion.”
Jeff is the associate editor and can be reached at 415-4692.