DOBSON — There’s no conference tournament for the playoff-bound Surry Central soccer team, but the Lady Eagles had one more round of business to take care of before stepping into postseason play.
A non-conference match with East Wilkes High School on Thursday evening served as the bookend to Central’s 2016 regular season and also served as Senior Night for the team. While conditions were less than ideal, with game-time temperatures in the mid-40s and constant rain that grew heavy at times, the Lady Eagles were still able to claim a 6-1 victory.
Surry Central (14-7-2 overall) blew the match open with two goals in the final 10:31 of the first half, carrying a 4-1 lead into the break. During the intermission, senior players Kasandra Peña, Ixcela Hernández, Esme Juarez, Sommer Chilton, Makenzie Mooney and Griselda Galan, and four-year team manager Julie Landaverde, were all honored for their contributions to the program.
The match itself was exactly what a playoff team would want for its senior night, as East Wilkes was tough enough to make the Lady Eagles work for the win, but not strong enough to have a shot at spoiling the festivities and dropping Central to a lower playoff seed.
“It was definitely good for us to come out on Senior Night and play well,” said Surry Central coach Matt Richardson. “We as a program appreciate the seniors for all of the effort they put in.”
The Lady Eagles’ Sofia Valle opened the scoring with a penalty kick in the ninth minute after the Lady Cardinals had been whistled for a foul in the goal box. The visitors tied the match six minutes later, but that was the last goal they would touch Mooney for, despite the poor playing conditions negating much of Central’s speed advantage. It took less than two minutes for the Lady Eagles to get the lead back, going up 2-1 on a goal from Anai Gómez in the 17th minute.
East Wilkes (8-10-2) managed to hold its own in the wet conditions for the next several minutes, but after Mooney snagged a well-struck 15-yard shot for a save in the 25th minute, the match started to favor the home team more and more. With 10:31 left in the first half, Mirian Hernández scored off a corner kick to extend the lead to 3-1.
The last 10 minutes of the first half were all Surry Central, and the Lady Eagles’ Taylor Cochran scored with 3:20 remaining before the break for a commanding 4-1 lead.
Richardson spent most of the second half getting all of his players into the game, and the only scoring after the break came on two Leslie Chávez goals in the 62nd and 65th minutes of play.
Surry Central has six days off before it returns to the pitch as the No. 3 seed from the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference. The Lady Eagles will be on the road against a to-be-determined opponent in the first round of the NCHSAA 2A playoffs on Wednesday night.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.