The Sauras’ soccer season ended last Wednesday night in the first round of the 1A state playoffs. South Stokes was defeated 2-1 in overtime in a closely fought match-up against the Mt. Airy Bears.
The Sauras and the Bears took to the field and battled for control of the ball for 70 minutes without a goal from either side. In the final minutes of the game, each team grabbed a goal and sent the game into overtime, when Mt. Airy’s Mitchell Brown made the final goal of the game.
Sauras Head Coach Justin Shelton said it was tough to watch the game slip away in the final moments. With just six minutes left in the game, a penalty was called on a Saura defender for knocking down another player. A mistake that should have been “avoided.”
The Bears scored on the penalty kick to tie up the game, and that was the beginning of the end for the Sauras, who were defeated in overtime.
“It was just so disappointing,” Shelton said. “We had the opportunity to go further.”
South Stokes’ soccer team this year was young — not a single senior played on the team. The team has won few games this season (4-15-2), but in recent weeks they have shown just how much they matured on the field. South Stokes surprised East Surry a couple of weeks ago when they grabbed a 6-4 win in the final game of the regular season.
Shelton has witnessed his team hone their abilities over the season. In the last few games, the Sauras really started to “gel.”
“I think they finally got the confidence to start playing as a team,” he said. “They are playing so much better now.”
The Bears had strong possession of the ball for most of the first half in last week’s game, but they could not hit the goal.
The Sauras found themselves wanting in the first half. They managed to get in the goal area several times, but they had trouble letting their shots fly. In the second half, the intensity of the game was upped, with both sides fighting hard for a goal. The Sauras had several close headings, but none went into the goal.
With little more than 10 minutes left in the game, both teams had yet to score a goal.
Then in the final moments of the game, the Sauras deflected a free kick high into goal for the first score of the game.
The Sauras fought to keep the Bears off the scoreboard in the final moments of the game, but with just a few minutes left on the clock, the Bears broke through the Sauras’ defense.
Mt. Airy’s Felipe Chavez drove hard into the Sauras’ goal area and was knocked down by a defender. The Bears were given a penalty kick. Mitchell Brown kicked a low-flying shot to the left. The Sauras’ goalie tried to deflect the shot, but the ball went into goal, which tied the game 1-1.
With the score tied, the game went into overtime. Neither team scored in the first period of overtime. Then, only a minute into the second period, the Bears’ Sam Watson made a pass to Brown, who blasted the shot in goal. The final score of the game was 2-1.
The Bears’ Head Coach Will Hurley said that the Sauras have developed a lot over the season and that last week’s game was a closely fought match.
Shelton said he would have like to have gone further in the playoffs, but he is still proud of the Sauras’ playing this season.
“We finished strong,” he said.