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Victory at last!
The Beddingfield High boys soccer team will not have to deal with the burden of winning on Senior Night in its regular-season finale Tuesday to avert a winless season.
The Bruins of first-year head coach Mark Aldrich put that worry behind them with a 3-0 2-A Eastern Plains Conference triumph against visiting SouthWest Edgecombe on Thursday evening.
The win came in Beddingfield’s 20th match after 17 losses and two ties. The Bruins also posted their first 2017 shutout in improving to 1-8 in the EPC.
“We were hyped up,” exclaimed Alan Calderon, one of five Beddingfield seniors. “We knew this was one of the teams we could beat. This was our second-to-last game and we wanted to show the crowd we could win this game and look forward to winning again on Senior Night (Tuesday against Nash Central).
“We were ready, and it showed throughout the game. This is my senior year and it feels really good to go to Senior Night with a win.”
A glum reaction was understandable for a SouthWest team that slipped to 3-6 in the conference and to 7-9 in all matches. The Cougars conquered Beddingfield 1-0 on a penalty kick in the first meeting. Head coach Chad Garbrandt said the outcome dashed all SouthWest hopes of landing a berth in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2-A playoffs.
“They came out to win and we didn’t,” Garbrandt lamented. “They wanted it more and we didn’t play with heart. We were just going through the motions.
“When we were warming up, you could tell (SouthWest players) were not into it. We pulled off a great win (against Nash Central) earlier this week and we turn around and do this.”
The Bruins, effective on crosses, forged a 2-0 halftime lead and put the outcome away on Calderon’s goal with approximately 23 minutes remaining.
Sophomore Horlando Chavez-Villanueva crossed the ball in front of the goal.The ball was deflected to Calderon, who laced an accurate shot from some 18 yards out.
“We scored most of our goals on crosses,” Aldrich explained. “They have a good keeper (senior Dillon Garbrandt), but you can beat the keeper when you switch it and one-touch it.”
The Cougars came out more attack-minded in the second half and junior David Manzo cranked a pair of near-misses and then was denied on a free kick only a couple of yards away from the goal. Sophomore Bruins goalkeeper Bryan Rico and his back line of junior Elvis Hernandez, senior Ronald Lemus-Hernandez, Calderon and sophomore Edwards Garcia pitched the shutout.
“We saw the people open,” Calderon noted. “We all communicated with each other and, if all the subs came in, we knew what to expect from them. We would go wide like the coaches told us. But basically, all we did was trust.”
Sophomore Noe Mendoza knocked in the first goal in the sixth minute on an assist from Chavez-Villaneuva. Beddingfield’s lead became 2-0 in the 17th minute. Freshman Brandon Wells finished an assist from senior Jose Cabrera-Real.
The Bruins struggled to finish after getting threats from Mendoza, Cabrera-Real and Wells. Generating opportunities for the Cougars were Manzo, freshman Oscar Rodriguez and freshman Brandon Rodriguez. Beddingfield defenders Chavez-Villaneuva and Cabrera-Real each kept the shutout intact by clearing balls away from the mouth of the Bruins’ goal.
“It was nice to see us work as a team,” summarized the pleased Aldrich. “We talked and communicated. We focused on defense first, and defense led to offense.”
Aldrich added the Bruins benefited from plentiful minutes from a healthy Chavez-Villaneuva, spreading the attack more and talking a lot better.
“We have been looking for a shutout all season,” he added with a grin.