DOBSON — Surry Central battled Lake Norman Charter to a 0-0 tie, but gave up a goal in overtime to fall out of the 2A state playoffs.
Lake Norman was the 1A state runner-up last year, but moved up to 2A this season. Last year the charter school knocked East Surry out of the playoffs, and this year it is the Golden Eagles, who finish 18-6.
Lake Norman Charter is a good team, but the Eagles had their chances, said Coach Blake Roth. This was the only time in 24 games that Surry Central has been held scoreless.
“In the first half, I felt like we completely controlled them, but we could not get one to fall,” said Roth. Jose Avalos had two good shots on goal, but the keeper blocked both.
Avalos also had a nice center from the left side, but his teammate stumbled on approach and barely got a foot on the ball.
Later in the first half, the Eagles lofted a ball toward the keeper’s box. Francisco Rangel was in perfect position just in front of the keeper, but his leap came up just a couple of inches shy of heading the ball past the keeper.
Just before the break, Rangel had an open look from out front and blasted a shot at the net. The ball went past the keeper’s gloves, but slammed into the cross bar and bounced back.
That is just the way the breaks went in this game, the coach said.
Lake Norman had a definite height advantage at most spots, but also had decent speed, Roth pointed out. Still, Avalos was able to streak out a few times in the half.
The Eagles made some adjustments at halftime, but so did the Knights, Roth said. Lake Norman started double-teaming Jose all over the field.
Mount Airy soccer coach Will Hurley attended the game and came away impressed with the Knights’ keeper.
In the second half, the Eagles attacked the box, but the goalie caught or deflected several passes.
Near the end of regulation, Avalos came free and blasted a shot toward the left corner of the net.
“That was a beautiful save by the keeper,” Roth said with admiration.
Central keeper Artemio Cortes had a couple of nice saves himself in the second half to preserve the shutout.
With neither team scoring, the match went to the first of two 10-minute overtimes.
Midway through the first overtime, Lake Norman set up for a corner kick.
Roth said he felt like they defended the corner kicks and long throw-ins well all night, but on this play the ball was up in the air and the Knights’ height advantage paid off for a goal.
This is the third year in a row that Central has had a good team, but was knocked out of the playoffs by its lack of height, he said. If this group gets some size next year, it could do some damage.
However, the Eagles will have to replace “six very valuable seniors from this team,” said Roth. Those are Reymundo Calderon, Artemio Cortes, Fredy Cruz, Juan Carlos Padilla, Francisco Rangel and Victor Solis.
“I am proud of them. We played hard, and for the most part we stuck with the game plan,” Roth said of his players. “They all left it out there on the field.”