RONDA — East Wilkes men’s soccer took on North Iredell Thursday night, and the outcome was eerily similar to their game against Mount Airy last Monday.
East Wilkes played tight with North Iredell in the first half, even holding a 1-0 lead thanks to a goal from Spencer Kranz in the 18th minute, but the flood gates opened late in the first half and stayed open til the end, with North Iredell winning 7-3. Part of the reason for North Iredell’s win was a natural hat trick for senior Noah Frye in 17 minutes to close out the first half with a 3-1 lead. Frye would add a fourth goal from about 20 yards away in the 62nd minute.
“It was a really tight game for a half, 3-1 at halftime is not bad but we made some defensive mistakes in the first half that they knew what they did wrong and understand,” East Wilkes Head Coach Rodney Wagoner said.
The Cardinals move to 0-2 on the season, but despite the loss, Wagoner had a lot of positives to point out, including a big play from senior Dylan Blankley. With the goalie down and out of position, North Iredell appeared to have an easy goal, but Blankley came out of nowhere just before it crossed the line, diving feet first to get it out of harm’s way. It preserved the lead temporarily.
“He’s hustling out there, my goalie had made a save, he’s out of position, and my defensive guy’s running to save that ball. What else can you say about that? It says a lot about the heart,” Wagoner said.
East Wilkes had a no quit attitude, with Nathan Wagoner scoring in the 59th minute, and Carlos Garcia scoring in the 63rd. It was also freshman keeper James Burcham’s first start in net. Burcham faced more than 20 shots, and despite the loss, Wagoner was pleased with his progression.
“He’s never played goalie before and I gave him a shot in the second half of the last game for a little while and gave him a whole game tonight to see what he can do,” said Wagoner.
The Cardinals are looking for their first win of the season at Mount Airy (3-2) Monday night. Mount Airy is coming off of an offensive explosion Thursday night against North Wilkes, a 10-2 rout, including seven goals in the first half.
Ryan DeCosta can be reached at 336-258-4052 or via Twitter @rsdecosta.