Prep Soccer: Greyhounds blank Raiders, close in on NPC title
FROM STAFF REPORTS
Playing without three key players, including leading Class 3A scorer Toni Pineda, Statesville's boys soccer team survived a bruising battle at North Iredell on Monday night, escaping with a 1-0 win.
North Iredell set the tone for the game in the first 10 minutes when Raiders defender Ezra Morefield took out Greyhounds playmaker Sam Johnson with a hard foul in the final third to hinder a scoring chance. Morefield received a yellow card, the first of several on the night for the Raiders.
"I thought North played a strong game," Greyhounds coach Eric Hanson said. "They did their best to beat us up, but at the end our strong team play was able to to overcome the challenge."
Statesville breached the North Iredell defense many times in the first half, but the Raiders defense rose to the occasion. Raiders keeper Scout Hix, who finished with 12 saves, made multiple stops in the half to keep the game scoreless.
The intensity continued after intermission with Statesville pressing forward and North Iredell content to counter-attack when it had the opportunity.
Greyhounds keeper Josh Fuhrman made eight saves to record his seventh shutout of the season and fourth clean sheet in conference games.
In the game's 72nd minute, Statesville forward Jamie Woodard took a pass from Garrett Potemry, beat two Raiders defenders and blasted a low shot past Hix for the game's only goal.
Watch the Game-Winning Goal
"Very happy for Jamie," Hanson said. "We needed someone to step up tonight on the offensive end and he did in a big way with that outstanding goal. Big time performance for the sophomore."
Statesville (15-3-2 overall; 7-0-0 North Piedmont Conference) can clinch its fourth straight NPC championship with a win over Carson on Wednesday night.
With the loss, North Iredell (8-4-2 overall; 4-2-1) fell into a second-place tie with South Iredell. A guaranteed playoff berth will likely be on the line when the rivals battle at South on Monday.
In other NPC games Monday:
• South Iredell 1, West Rowan 0: The Vikings claimed a share of second place in the North Piedmont Conference Monday with a hardfought win over the Falcons
Dylan Dellinger scored the game-winning goal in the game's 69th minute, and the South Iredell defense was stout all night.
Vikings defenders Daniel Bonomo and Connor Matas helped minimize West Rowan's scoring chances, and keeper Ben Bograd made five saves, including one on a breakaway chance in the game's waning minutes.
The Vikings improved to 7-7-1 overall and 4-2-1 in conference play.
South Iredell travels to East Rowan (3-13-2 overall; 1-6-0 NPC) on Wednesday.