• North Iredell 3, Carson 1
Prep Soccer: Greyhounds knock off Vikings in NPC opener
FROM STAFF REPORTS
The Statesville High boys soccer team opened play in the North Piedmont Conference Monday with 5-2 win over rival South Iredell.
The Greyhounds (9-2-1 overall; 1-0-0 NPC) broke open a competitive game with four second-half goals after the teams battled to a 1-1 halftime score.
Seniors Toni Pineda and Sam Johnson scored two goals each for Statesville and Austin Labretone also netted a goal for the Greyhounds, who won their seventh straight match. Pineda, Johnson and Alex Puente all assisted on goals for the Greyhounds.
Omar Chaaban and Lucas Horton scored for the Vikings (3-5-0 overall; 0-1-0 NPC)
Vikings goalkeeper Ben Bograd kept his team in the game with a stellar first half, turning away numerous shots from close range. He finished with 13 saves.
"The South keeper played great," Statesville coach Eric Hanson said. "We challenged him all night and he stood strong."
Johnson blasted a free kick past Bograd in the game's fourth minute to give the Greyhounds an early lead, but Chabaan got behind the Statesville defense and beat Statesville keeper Josh Fuhrman for the equalizer in the game's 11th minute. Carter Cooke assisted on the goal.
"Once South scored, it seemed to give them life," Hanson said.
But the Vikings could not convert the emotional lift into many first-half scoring opportunities.
Two minutes into the second half Pineda converted a penalty kick after being pulled down in the box to give Statesvile the lead for good.
The Greyhounds got a little breathing room in the game's 67th minute when Johnson banged a header off a Pineda free kick into the net for a 3-1 lead.
Five minutes later Labretone headed a Johnson throw-in past Bograd for a 4-1 lead. It was the senior midfielder's 14th assist of the season to go with seven goals.
"Sam Johnson played a great game tonight and continued to be a dominant force for us," Hanson said.
Fuhrman recorded six saves for the Greyhounds, but Horton scored off a long Bograd free kick for South Iredell with 6:41 to play to cut the lead to 4-2.
In the game's 88th minute Pineda beat two South defenders and then ripped a shot under a diving Bograd to account for the final score.
Pineda's two scores increased his team-leading total to 25 for the season.
Statesville plays host to North Iredell (5-2-1 overall; 1-0-0) on Wednesday, while South Iredell will attempt to snap its three-game losing streak on Monday when the Vikings play host to East Rowan (2-7-1).