Mount Airy’s magical soccer season came to an end with a 3-0 loss to North Moore Saturday afternoon.
The Mustangs scored two goals in the first five minutes and held the Granite Bears scoreless, the first team to do that all season.
Coach Will Hurley said, “I think that they were more aggressive than we were … and we couldn’t outmuscle them in the open field.”
North Moore was whistled for several fouls for its rough play, but the first team to get a yellow card was Mount Airy midway through the second half.
“I really hate being at the mercy of someone who doesn’t want to card anyone,” Hurley said of the officiating. Things that could have been a yellow card were just free kicks because the referees didn’t want to have an impact on a playoff game.
North Moore plays in the same conference as East Montgomery, the team the Bears beat earlier in the week.
East Montgomery probably gave the Mustangs a full scouting report on the Bears because they seemed to know a lot about the players from the opening whistle, he said.
It would be nice if soccer teams had to swap game film like football teams do, he noted.
At the start of the match, the Mustangs got the ball up the field and scored on their first two kicks.
That’s a pretty lucky percentage, going 2-2, said Hurley.
Rather than get down after two goals, the Bears tightened up and began to possess the ball more than the Mustangs.
Mount Airy had the ball more, but no one could find the net, he said. The team had six looks in the first half, and not a one of them was even close.
“I kept thinking, ‘We’re going to get one of these, and then look out.’”
“I think we are the better team but we didn’t play like it today,” he said. “It just wasn’t our day.”
It is hard to think that this is the first time the team has lost all year, but that is it for the season, he added.
“This was a really special season, and I would have liked to have won it all,” he said. “I thought if we won this game, we had a great chance (at a state title).”
The players stayed healthy for the most part, and that was a key ingredient to the success, he noted.
“The hardest thing is telling this group of seniors goodbye,” he said. Looking back at all the practices and games, he said it came to 73 or 74 days the boys have spent together.
And they are a great group of young men, he said. The entire team combined only picked up as many yellow cards as some individual players do in a season.
The Bears finish with a mark of 20-1-2 and several school records, including most wins, longest undefeated streak and deepest playoff run.