The men’s soccer team at West Stokes kept pace with Western Piedmont Athletic 2A Conference leader Surry Central this week with back-to-back shutout victories over Walkertown and Forbush in conference play. The Wildcats rebounded after a 1-0 loss to the Eagles on October 1 in Dobson.
“The wins over Walkertown and Forbush were important in the conference race after a tough loss against Central,” said Wildcat coach Andrew O’Neal. “I’m glad it didn’t carry over to Wednesday and Thursday. I think it shows a lot of maturity and toughness to be able to get two shut outs following the emotional loss. Our guys recorded their ninth shut out of this year on Thursday and are taking a lot of pride and defending hard as a group.”
On Wednesday, the Cats traveled to Walkertown and won 3-0 behind 21 shots on goal. Cameron Knox tallied the first Wildcat goal of the evening less than two minutes into the contest off of a header cross pass from Sebastian Manzano, his first of two assist on the night. Four minutes later Manzano found the back of the net off of a free kick assist by Lucas Pasada. West finished the scoring of the half and game when Alex Rhodes scored off an assist from Manzano with 18:29 left before halftime.
Goalie Cameron Heath had four saves and the defense help fend off one corner kick of the night as the offense kept the ball on the Wolfpack’s side of the field for the majority of the game.
West continued their strong defensive play at home on Thursday against a historical good Forbush team. Manzano scored the only goal of the game for the Wildcats with 31:36 left in the contest off of a corner set play. Heath fended off 18 shots on goal and recorded 10 saves for his ninth shutout of the season.
“Sebastian (Manzano) plays extremely hard and I think the guys really feed off of him,” O’Neal added. “He’s been big for us all year. (Dylan) Gupton, Knox, and Levi (Ashby) were also good this week in the middle of the field and helped us keep possession of the ball.”
The Wildcats improved to 8-3-3 overall and 6-1 in conference play. They will travel to Carver, the conference’s third place team, on Monday for an all important league game at 6 p.m.
“Carver is a very dangerous and athletic team,” O’Neal said. “We will have to continue to stay organized and play good team soccer to account for their skill and athleticism.”
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.