RONDA — The East Wilkes Cardinals men’s soccer team was looking to break its six-game losing streak on Wednesday night. The Cardinals hosted North Surry on a humid night in Ronda.
While temperatures were hot off of the field, on the field things were cold for the Cardinals. The Greyhounds scored their first goal in the second minute of action, and from there everything was all about the blue and gray. When the final whistle blew, North Surry took a 6-1 win over East Wilkes.
“Better than we have,” said East Wilkes head coach Andrew Millaway on how his team played overall. “We had shots on goal, which is something we have lacked. We did score our second goal of the season. Overall I think this is the best game we have played all season.”
North Surry knocked in the opening goal just as the clock hit the third minute. The Greyhounds beat the Cardinals to the ball to earn a breakaway which resulted in a goal. While North Surry had the 1-0 lead, East Wilkes was able to keep up its momentum for the next five minutes.
Dylan Ward was able to take a shot for the Cardinals, but it sailed just wide of the goal. Less than a minute later, East Wilkes had a free-kick from 35 yards out. The Cardinals set up in the box, but the shot went wide right for a North Surry goal kick.
East Wilkes was able to take two shots, but after the second shot, North Surry was able to take the momentum back to its offensive side. The Greyhounds had four shots on goal in three minutes, but they couldn’t finish the shot. North Surry was able to win every ball in the midfield, and just as it looked like they would put in another goal, the shot would sail wide.
At the 18-minute mark, the Greyhounds were able to put in their second goal of the night. North Surry found a breakaway and beat three defenders before putting the ball into the net. Fourteen minutes later, North Surry knocked in its third goal of the half to take a 3-0 lead.
In the second half, North Surry added three goals to its total to take a 6-0 lead over East Wilkes. Even though the game was in favor of the Greyhounds, the Cardinals didn’t stop fighting for a goal. With three minutes left in the game, Logan Lytton knocked in East Wilkes’ first goal of the night, and the second of the season.
Although East Wilkes lost, the young Cardinals showed improvement throughout the field. East Wilkes started things off in a 4-4-2, which gave them speed up top but also provided a strong back line. On offense, Abram Sparks used his speed up top to put pressure on North Surry’s defense. Although Abram didn’t have a goal, he had several shots that gave North Surry a scare.
On defense, East Wilkes had four players make goal-saving plays. In the net, Blaine Wagoner put his body in dangerous positions in order to make the save. Wagoner had saves in the first half which would make any highlight reel. At the 20-minute mark, Wagoner was one-on-one with a North Surry forward. The Greyhound tried to fake Wagoner out by going to his right and making a cut-back, but the keeper was prepared and made the save.
Ivan Sierra had speed on the back line that was needed whenever the Greyhounds had a breakaway. Sierra stopped three North Surry goals from hitting the back of the net, as he hustled from the other side of the field to turn the play the other direction. James Burcham, Grady Holleman and Jorge Lopez all put up a strong back line for the Cardinals.
“I liked the effort from the kids tonight,” said Millaway. “We’ve struggled, but we’ve made them watch film and I think some of them are realizing, ‘Hey, I stand around on the field too much and I’m not doing this.’ I think when they see that, that makes a difference. They see the things they aren’t doing and they change it. The effort is a big thing, and the hustle. We preach effort., if you put in effort then the results will come. This is the best effort we have put out all year, although the score doesn’t show that, but overall it’s definitely the best I’ve seen along.”
Although the Cardinals lost last week, on Monday night they were able to earn their first win of the season. East Wilkes took on North Wilkes for a conference battle. The Cardinals came out strong and were able to take a 3-2 win over the Vikings for their first win of the season.