Girls soccer is officially a spring sport in North Carolina, but don’t try convincing anyone who witnessed the Tuesday evening battle between Mount Airy and Surry Central of that.
The hosts appeared to be in good shape when Baylee Greenwood gave the Lady Bears a 4-3 lead with roughly 19 minutes left to play. The sophomore beat two Lady Eagle midfielders, then worked her way past the fullbacks and sweepers to a position about seven yards away, just outside the right post. She pushed the ball past the Central keeper to give Mount Airy the lead back.
That advantage stood until the 11:58 mark, when Sofia Valle scored to tie the match at 4. The Lady Bears (3-2-1) quickly pushed the ball back into the other end after the score, but couldn’t finish when the ball was at near point-blank range in front of the keeper. The Lady Eagles’ defense finally cleared the ball and got things going into the other end, where another Surry Central goal, this one by Mallory Spagnoletti, put them on top 5-4 in the 69th minute of play. The last 10 and a half minutes were played with no additional scoring, and a steady snow shower coming down during the last five minutes of a match played with a game-time temperature of 32 degrees and a wind chill in the teens.
“The spring is so short that if you don’t get the games in, you often don’t get to play them at all,” said Mount Airy coach Will Hurley of the decision to play in the frigid weather. “It was a really good game, but the wind really affected play, and we didn’t do enough when it was at our backs in the first half.”
The Lady Bears broke a 2-2 tie in the 54th minute with a goal from about 15 yards out by Olivia Malone, but the Lady Eagles (4-4-0) tied it at 3 when Spagnoletti took a shot from near the home sideline about 20 yards away and got it past the Mount Airy keeper.
The Lady Bears held a 2-0 lead in the first half on Greenwood’s first two goes of what became a hat trick evening for her. She opened the match with a goal off a penalty kick, then later scored off a free kick. However, Central rallied to tie the game 2-2 at the half on goals by Taylor Cochran and Valle.
Spagnoletti and Valle each scored two goals for Surry Central, with Cochran getting the other. Greenwood had three goals and an assist for the Lady Bears.
The Lady Eagles will host Elkin on Thursday, while Mount Airy returns to the pitch on Thursday at home against North Wilkes.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.