Abby Nearing’s late goal gave South Forsyth girls’ soccer a 2-1 victory over West Forsyth in the Lady War Eagles’ Region 6-AAAAAA opener on Friday night.
South’s Meagan Postell delivered the free kick to the edge of the six-yard-box, where Nearing collected it and finished it to the top left corner, to give the War Eagles the game-winning goal in the 70th minute.
“It was a great effort,” South head coach Tom Braun said. “We knew West was going to be a very good team coming in. Our team played great possession. We were tied 1-1 at halftime and we found a way to put the ball in the net in the second half and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
These two teams were pretty evenly matched in the first half.
South (5-0, 1-0 in Region 6-AAAAAA) got on the board in the 23rd minute when Reagan Smith played the ball into the box to Jenna Vollrath. Vollrath gathered it moving to her right, stopped, cut back left and tucked it into the bottom left corner, out of the keeper’s reach.
West (2-3, 1-1) drew even in the 33rd minute when Landen Bowman played a nice ball down the middle of the field to Brooke Pirkle. South keeper Hannah Goudy misplayed it, and Pirkle shot it into the open net.
South had a few more chances in the game, and one of their best came off a corner kick in the 53rd minute when Potell’s cross was met by a Payton Schurr header that went off the crossbar. They were just more consistent in creating chances throughout the game than West.
“I think we came out flat tonight,” West head coach Jason Bayush said. “We had a couple injuries and a couple things we had to overcome. I thought overall we did a good job but we didn’t get some calls and we had some opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on. And at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.”
The War Eagles finished with six shots, three on target, compared to just two shots and one on target for the Wolverines.
“I think it’s a good start to the season,” Nearing said. “I think it helped us get ready and get working together and we’ll build from that.”
West Forsyth 1, South Forsyth 0: West’s boys were too much for South as the Wolverines grabbed a road win to begin region play.
“I thought we played well,” West forward Kwaku Adu said. “We just did what we worked on in training, executed well, and got the result.”
South (1-3, 0-1) nearly stole a goal off of a breakaway in the third minute, but Jacob Allen made a great save on the Ryan Peppenhorst shot to keep the score level. That was the best chance South would have all game.
The War Eagles finished the game with five shots, four of which were on target, compared to West, which had five of their 16 shots on target.
West (4-1, 1-0) controlled the possession throughout the game. It seemed that every time you looked up, the Wolverines had another player streaking down the flanks with the ball. And more times than not that player was Adu.
“They’re just very quick and very good with the ball,” Braun said. “And we had a difficult time trying to match their speed.”
In the 48th minute, West earned a free kick just outside of the box and they took it quickly. Cam Macer slipped it to the left of the wall where Adu took a touch, then delivered a splendid left-footed finish past Niko Tzevelekos and into the back of the net to give West the deciding 1-0 advantage.
Tzevelekos played well for the most part, saving four shots, but he just didn’t get enough help from his defenders.
“I think we had a good game plan tonight,” West head coach Ahmed Gathing said. “We ran what we were supposed to run, we kept the pressure on them and we got the goal that we wanted to get and the defense played extremely well today.”
Macer was a tactician in the midfield, continuously finding teammates and playing dangerous balls into the box, as well as putting a few shots on goal himself.
“Our whole mantra this year is one step at a time,” Gathing said. “And I think this puts us one step closer to one of our goals at the end of the season.”