Mount Airy had a school first on Tuesday, tying Surry Central in soccer.
Since the two schools introduced soccer several years ago, the Golden Eagles have had the Granite Bears’ number. The Eagles had won every single match until Tuesday when the Bears went up 1-0 in the first half before finishing in a 1-1 tie.
“I know the guys were really excited about that first tie,” said Bears coach Will Hurley. “It truly was a team effort.”
The Bears broke through in the first half on a penalty kick about 10 minutes in.
Christian Cabrera took the PK and hammered a low shot. The keeper got his foot out on the ball, but it had enough momentum to trickle back into the goal.
The Bears almost had another goal when a shot was deflected and looked to be rolling into the net when a defender swooped in to save a point.
While the match goes down as a tie, Central coach Blake Roth said, “It was really a great win for Mount Airy and terrible loss for Surry Central. It’s the first time they’ve ever gotten a piece of us. I felt like we got outplayed in the field, outhustled and outmuscled.”
Mount Airy wasn’t playing dirty, it was really a pretty clean game, but their players were fast and physical, said Roth.
The younger players who will be needed to play important minutes have to get stronger, both mentally and physically, he said.
Roth said he brought up two freshmen to give depth, but they aren’t ready to mix it up in the box with someone stout like big John Hardy.
“Were we missing three players? Yes, we were,” he said. “But we’ve got to be able to play with who we’ve got and still play our style.”
All-conference returnees Jose Avalos and Carlos Secundino finished up the last of their two-game suspension for violating a team rule. And East Surry transfer Brayan Gomez didn’t play as Central tries to clear up any eligibility questions.
Still, Central managed to break through the Bears’ midfield defense a few times to get chances on goal. However, Bear keeper Scott Kunkel was on and managed to stop almost everything.
The one score for Central was on a shot from Gusto Cristobal that both coaches agreed would have been almost impossible for any keeper.
Cristobal went out of the game later with a possible collarbone fracture.
Roth said unofficially he believed his team had 14 shot attempts and 11 were on target, and Kunkel stopped everything but Cristobal’s one score.
In addition to his PK, Cabrera made several nice steals for the Bears and even triggered a fast break with a booming goal kick that went over everyone’s head.