With the last few weeks of the 2018 regular soccer season on the horizon, local high school teams are fighting tooth and nail for important wins. On Monday night, the Elkin Buckin’ Elks hosted the Alleghany Trojans for an important Mountain Valley Athletic Conference match. The Elks and the Trojans are sitting in fifth and seventh place in the MVAC.
The game saw both teams want the win to help them in their conference record, but only one team prevailed. Alleghany was able to come out strong as soon as the opening whistle blew, but Elkin made a successful comeback to take the 4-1 win over the Trojans. The conference win was the first home win for the Buckin’ Elks this season.
“First home win of the season, and a two-game winning streak,” said Elkin head coach Joe McCulloch. “We played our best game tonight. I am proud of them for finally putting into the game what we work on in practice. We have been working a lot on just passing the ball and moving the ball, we did a lot of that tonight.”
The first goal of the night came in the third minute, as the Trojans found a breakaway that started in the midfield. Alleghany was able to advance the ball forward with crisp passes, until they put the ball into the net for a 1-0 lead.
Alleghany kept charging at the ball and winning every ball out of the air. Elkin was unable to get past the visiting defensive line until the 12th minute of play. The shot by Patrick Soos was over the bar, but Elkin was able to pick up its tempo and start matching Alleghany shot for shot.
The Elks defended well on Alleghany’s next breakaway, as the ball was played out of the back and found the feet of Carlos Espinoza. Espinoza passed the ball to Chase Cozart, who beat a defender but was then double teamed. With the ball still in his possession, Cozart passed the ball back to Korbin Powell, who took a shot from 20 yards out. The shot went just wide, but the Elks were starting to take offensive chances towards the net.
In the 17th minute, Elkin was able to find a quick breakaway as Cozart beat one defender and made his way towards the goal. Alleghany’s keeper made the call to come out of his goal and slide tackle the ball away from the feet of Cozart, which stopped the Elkin attack.
Elkin kept putting pressure on the goal as the clock ticked on. In the 22nd minute, Elkin was awarded a throw in that resulted with a shot on goal. The throw-in found the feet of Espinoza, who took a hard shot, and just as it seemed to be over the keeper’s head, it was tipped over the net and Elkin was awarded a corner. The corner was cleared by the Trojans, and the visiting team was once again on the offensive side of the line.
Less than three minutes later, Elkin was finally able to put the ball into the back of the net with a scramble in the box. Espinoza and Caeson Baker both were putting pressure on the keeper in the box, and it was Espinoza who was able to poke the ball into the net for a the tying goal.
Less than 30 seconds later, Elkin knocked in its second goal of the night. While Alleghany was trying to figure out what to do with the ball on defense, Patrick Soos was able to steal the ball from the Trojans and slot the ball into the right corner for a goal. Elkin has successfully taken a 2-1 lead with 12 minutes left in the first half.
The two quick goals by Elkin gave the home team the momentum for the rest of the half. Elkin kept taking shots on goal that frazzled Alleghany’s defense. Soos almost had his second goal of the night in the 28th minute, but Alleghany’s keeper was able to save the shot.
When the first half whistle sounded, Elkin had made a comeback to take a 2-1 lead over Alleghany.
The second half saw Elkin come out on top and never look back. The Buckin’ Elks put in two goals to take a 4-1 win over Alleghany.
Elkin opened up the second half with a header goal by Espinoza for his second of the night. The cross came in from Powell, and Espinoza found himself wide open for the perfect shot into the goal. Elkin took a 3-1 lead with 21:33 left in the game.
The Buckin’ Elks kept up its tempo with their fourth goal of the night. A foul was called on Alleghany, which set Elkin up for a free kick from 40 yards out. Powell placed the ball and stepped back to take the kick. The ball sailed through the air and everyone in the stadium held their breath. The shot was placed perfectly as the ball hit the back of the net for an upper 90 in the right corner. Powell’s goal gave Elkin a 4-1 lead with less than 10 minutes left in the game.
“I thought there was no way it was going in,” said McCulloch. “I still didn’t think it when in until I saw it bounce around. I don’t even think Korbin thought it went in, it caught us off guard. He has a good shot, it was a powerful shot that made that goal. We work on those things, if you put it on goal good things might happen. If you pass the ball around it might get dispossessed.”
Elkin was able to hold the Trojans back on defense as the home team kept crashing the goal. The Buckin’ Elks saw the game out with a few more shots on goal, but the ball never found the net. As the clock hit zero, Elkin was able to take a 4-1 MVAC win and its first home win of the season.
“We have won two conference games,” said McCulloch. “I think us, Alleghany and East Wilkes are all 2-4. It’s a tight race. We have Starmount on Wednesday, and we are playing better than we were the first time we saw them. I’m sure they are playing better too, but we have stepped our game up. I think it will be close.”
With the win, Elkin moves to 2-4 in the MVAC and 3-9 overall. Elkin will travel to Starmount on Wednesday and East Wilkes on Thursday.