WINSTON-SALEM — Even without two starting defenders, the Surry Central soccer team is finding a way to make statement victories in the beginning of the 2016 season.
Jovani Reynoso is out with an injury suffered in a car accident and Fernando Talavera missed Tuesday’s match against North Forsyth with a sore foot, but the Golden Eagles still earned a 2-1 victory and handed the Vikings (3-1) their first loss of the year.
North Forsyth is a talented 3A squad that won the preseason Forsyth Cup in the summer, but Surry Central (4-0) continues to show fortitude by racking up wins without a couple of key players.
“It’s definitely been a big hit to our team to start the season,” Surry Central coach Blake Roth said. “But I think the guys are rallying behind Jovani. They want to make sure we’re still playing well when he gets back.”
Surry Central opened the scoring in the 28th minute, thanks to a nice strike from Axel Rangel. The freshman picked up a loose ball and fired a shot from about 20 yards out that was hit so hard it went right through the North Forsyth goalie’s hands.
The Eagles doubled their advantage just two minutes before halftime. Julio Sanchez is a midfielder who has been forced into a left back role with the defensive injuries Surry Central is battling, but Sanchez was still able to make his presence felt on the offensive end.
Miguel Tello fed the overlapping Sanchez a nice pass down the sideline, and Sanchez drifted into the box before firing a shot past the North Forsyth goalie for a 2-0 lead.
The Vikings came out in the second half and were desperate to cut the deficit in half, but Surry Central stood strong until the end of the match. With four minutes remaining, Lalo Marin launched a long-distance shot passed Jonathan DeSantiago to trim the Eagles’ lead to 2-1.
“Those last four minutes were not fun at all,” Roth said.
But the Eagles held on for the win. Roth credited the performance of Arturo Lopez, who played center back on Tuesday, and kept the Surry Central defense organized and stable.
“Arturo is going to accept whatever role we give him and thrive in it. He stepped up in a big way tonight,” Roth said.
Surry Central will look to make it five victories in five matches to start the season on Thursday at home against West Iredell.