Prep Soccer: Greyhounds knock off previously unbeaten Rams
FROM STAFF REPORTS
Once the Statesville High boys soccer team found a way to break through visiting Starmount High's seemingly impenetrable defense Tuesday night, the Greyhounds scored in a flurry.
Senior midfielder Sam Johnson broke a scoreless tie in the game's 48th minute, senior Alex Puente delivered a powerful strike two minutes later and leading scorer Toni Pineda added two quick goals as Statesville blanked the Rams 4-0.
The victory was Statesville's fifth consecutive win, and marked Starmount's first loss of the season.
Greyhounds coach Eric Hanson said it was a good test for his squad, which finishes the nonconference portion of the season Thursday with a home game against a tough A.L. Brown High team. Varisty kick-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
"We played a good team Tuesday night in Starmount," Hanson said. "They had only been scored on three times prior to our game. That was a very solid team with some talented players."
Stymied during the first half by the Rams' defense, which often included six or seven defenders in the box, Statesville (7-2-1) got an emotional lift from Puente's score -- and some breathing room.
"Alex Puente's goal from about 30 yards out was spectacular and seemed to spark the rest of the team," Hanson said. "Everyone was so happy for him to get his first goal. That really changed the game."
Pineda's goals -- off a header from a Johnson throw-in and a low blast that beat the Rams' keeper -- were his 17th and 18th of the season.
Johnson had two assists, giving him a team-best 10 for the season. Junior Dawson Sprinkle contributed an assist as well.
Junior defender Ross Garrison led a solid defensive effort for the Greyhounds, and goalkeeper Josh Fuhrman recorded seven saves to earn his third shutout of the season.