West Stokes soccer team finished their season last week with a 3-0 loss to Surry Central and a 3-2 overtime loss to Western Piedmont Athletic Conference champion, Forbush (20-1) on senior night.
“I think the guys played very hard against Forbush and they did a great job containing their major threats up top,” said Wildcat coach Andrew O’Neal. “It was tough to lose in overtime, especially on senior night, but I think the guys should be proud of their effort. It showed how competitive our conference is from top to bottom.”
Before the game, O’Neal and the team recognized their four seniors: Jacob Doncescz, Bailey Moran, Michael Rutherford and Mckenzie Willard.
“I feel very fortunate to have been able to coach a great group of seniors,” he said. “Mickey, Bailey, Donnie and Michael will do well outside of soccer and were great leaders for our younger players this year.”
In the first half, the Falcons jumped on the Wildcats 1-0, but the defense of the home team kept the score the same at the break. Early in the second half, Forbush led 2-0 when West scored their first goal of the game with 26 minutes left on a shot by sophomore Caleb Peters.
With nine minutes remaining, Dylan Gupton tied the score at two on an assist from senior Jacob Doncescz.
In overtime the Falcons scored in the first of two 10-minute periods for the win.
The Wildcats added 22 shots on goal with Doncescz leading the team with six. Goalies Alex Puckett and Cameron Health combined to have 14 saves on 32 shots by the Falcons.
Against Surry Central, the Wildcats dropped the matchup to the conference’s number two team.
“Surry Central’s field is wider than ours and it is really hard for us to keep up with them due to their speed and ability to possess,” voiced O’Neal. “Their coaching staff had a good game plan and really spread us out to make us chase the ball on dead legs.”
The Eagles scored in the first eight minutes and then tallied another goal two minutes before halftime. In the second half, the Wildcats fought hard with 10 shots on goal, but came up short. Surry Central scored their final goal with 2:22 left in the game.
The Eagles had 23 shots on goal and the combo of Puckett and Heath added 11 saves.
West Stokes finished their regular season at 5-12-4 and 2-8 in conference play. They missed the playoffs for the first time since 2014 and lost eight games by only one goal.
“In terms of our record it has been a frustrating year for our players,” said the coach. “However, they have improved greatly from the beginning of the season and were very competitive in every game we played. A lot of young players were asked to play key spots and they had to go through some growing pains. I am very excited about next year due to the fact we will be returning the majority of our starters and have a large senior class.”
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.