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Soccer: South boys improve shooting late to blank North
South Forsyth junior Niko Stavros handles the ball with North Forsyth's Cameron Cummings defending him on Monday, March 2, 2020. - photo by David Almeda

South Forsyth’s boys soccer team endured a rainy and cold contest on the road against North Forsyth on Monday, connecting on more scoring opportunities late to take a 3-0 victory.

The win improves the War Eagles’ overall record to 6-3 overall and 3-1 in Region 5-7A. The Raiders dropped to 1-5 overall and 0-4 in region play.

“It was a good finish,” South Forsyth boys coach Cheré Thomas said. “I thought we started off flat. I think, honestly, we can play better than what we did tonight. I think we just came out really flat tonight.

“We've played every night in the rain, just about. I think (it was) just finishing shots. That's one of our biggest things, just finishing in that final third.”

South held the possession advantage for the majority of the first half, constantly attacking North’s goal. The War Eagles’ Patrick Kelly had an early goal nullified due to a handball on the play. After a few more misses, South finally connected with 12:50 left in the first half, with Jose Ventura connecting on a header off a free kick to make it 1-0.

The score stayed that way at the half, and although his team was down, North head coach Jared Steinberg was pleased with what he was seeing, particularly with what backup goalie Ean Hall was doing.

“I thought the boys played the best game they've played all season,” Steinberg said. “(They) were in it for most of the game. It was 1-0 at halftime and a lot of the things we hadn't been doing right, I think we started to. We're starting to learn how to play the space a little bit more, but I think it's important to keep in mind that were out a lot of guns tonight. 

“Our starting goalkeeper was out (and) we had a starting defender that was out tonight. I think that hurt us a lot but I think we actually played our most complete game of the season.”

As the game went on, though, South began to find ways to complete more of their chances. With 35:01 left in the game, Dino Stavros scored after following up on a Hall save, and with 23:24 to play, Ventura scored his second goal of the night to make it 3-0, putting the Raiders out of reach.

South took its first region loss of the season in heartbreaking fashion last week, falling to defending Class 7A state champion Lambert in PKs. Currently sitting in second place, though, the War Eagles feel like they’re doing quite well in one of the best soccer regions in the state.

“We have a very competitive region,” Thomas said. “We typically always do every year. I feel good about what we can achieve. I think we have a long way to go and a lot to get better at, but I think that we can ultimately be competitive if we play our soccer.”