Vikings soccer splits matches to close regular season
Jamie Shell / (email@example.com)
On Monday, Oct. 22, Avery traveled to take on Mountain Heritage in Burnsville. The two clubs played to a 2-2 tie in Newland earlier this season, and the teams played another tight affair, with Heritage pulling out the narrow 2-1 victory.
Avery returned home on Wednesday, Oct. 24, for its regular season finale against neighboring Mitchell. Vikings soccer celebrated Senior Night, as Matt Balog, Isauro Estrada, Ian Franklin and Bill Lien were honored prior to the match.
AHS seized control of the game within the first 10 minutes and never looked back.
Balog netted a goal off an assist from Leonel Castaneda in the ninth minute to give the Big Red a 1-0 lead. Just four minutes later, Balog found the back of the net for a second time, this time thanks to an Estrada assist, to grab a 2-0 advantage.
Fourteen minutes later, Avery extended its lead when Kyle Hofman scored off another Castaneda assist, and the Vikings scored a fourth goal in the half when Estrada beat the Mitchell keeper off a Balog assist in the 33rd minute to stake AHS to a 4-0 lead at halftime.
Less than a minute into the second half, Balog netted a hat trick, scoring off another Castaneda assist for a 5-0 Vikings lead.
Mitchell netted its only goal of the contest in the 49th minute, when Taylor Kerlin scored off a corner kick, narrowing the AHS lead to 5-1.
Four minutes following the MHS score, Avery answered with a goal by Franklin in the 53rd minute off an assist by Estrada, making the score 6-1. Balog scored a fourth goal for the match less than a minute later for a 7-1 margin, then added a goal apiece from Castaneda (56th minute, off a Franklin assist) and Estrada (60th minute, off a Juan Robles assist) to account for the eight-goal differential.
Avery completed the regular season with an 8-12-2 mark overall, and qualified for the NCHSAA 1A soccer playoffs, where it will face West Wilkes this week in a first-round matchup.