Starmount’s boys soccer team advanced to the third round of the state 2A playoffs with a 1-0 victory over Jimmy C. Draughn High School on Saturday.
The game remained scoreless for more than 73 minutes. Miguel Mendez finally broke the ice for Starmount, converting a corner kick from Pedro Morales into a goal with 6:20 to go.
The Rams advance to play long-time rival Surry Central in Wednesday’s third round. The game starts at 6 p.m. in Dobson, with the winner playing either Forbush or Wilkes Central this weekend.
This is Starmount’s deepest playoff run since the 2006 season. The Rams were ousted in the first round last year by Lexington.
“All I can say is this was a total team effort tonight and win for us,” Starmount coach Dale Draughn said after beating a school that shares his last name. “We stayed true to ourselves and played our best game of the season, and that is more than I can ask for at this stage of the game.”
The Rams and the Wildcats played attack and counterattack for most of the first half, coach Draughn said, with the Rams leading in shots on goal by a count of 8 to 5. Both keepers came up big, as well as both teams defenses.
“It was pretty much a defensive battle the first half and midway through the second half,” Draughn said.
Starmount (16-4-1) held the Wildcats to only one shot on the goal in the second half. The Rams took 10 shots in the final 40 minutes, but needed only one to find the back of the net to advance.
Goalie Oscar Hernandez earned the shutout for Starmount. He made seven saves on seven Draughn shots. Draughn keeper Yeng Yang also had seven saves.
• • •
Starmount’s boys soccer team used a strong second half last Wednesday night to surge into the second round of the state playoffs. The Rams scored four goals after intermission and beat Brevard 5-0.
There was little doubt that Starmount would advance past the first round after Chandler Chappell scored midway through the first half for a 1-0 lead, assisted by Juan Lopez. The Rams dominated possession throughout the game, surrendering only seven shots on goal while taking 24.
While Brevard was able to sweep away other attacks before halftime, the Blue Devils couldn’t keep the Rams away from their net following the break.
Jose Arellano got the onslaught started by punching in a rebound off a Zack Williams shot nine minutes into the second half. Less than a minute later, Juan Morales converted a pass from Arellano into another goal for a 3-0 edge.
Jacob Cleary and Juan Morales added the final two Starmount goals. Jose Luna assisted Cleary, while Pedro Morales assisted his brother Juan’s goal.
“In the first half we did a good job of attacking and spreading the field, but their keeper made some good saves on some very solid shots,” Starmount coach Dale Draughn said. “In the second half, (our) defense settled in and only allowed two shots on goal.”
Oscar Hernandez preserved the shutout for Starmount, the team’s fifth of the season. Hernandez had six saves.
The new Draughn High is only in its second year of offering varsity boys soccer. The Wildcats went 12-1-1 in the Catawba Valley 2A Athletic Conference and topped West Stokes 2-0 in Wednesday’s opening round.