Closer, but not over the hump

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Galax gave Floyd County a much tougher time than it did in early April, falling 2-1.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

Less than three weeks after giving up a 5-1 loss to Floyd County, Galax was on even terms with the Buffaloes for 72 minutes before settling for a 2-1 setback in a nondistrict girls’ soccer match Monday. With the score knotted at 1-all, Floyd County’s Brooke Williams launched a high arcing shot from a steep angle near the right side of the 18-yard box. Galax goalkeeper Abbi Ponce, who had made stop after stop to keep the Maroon Tide in it, stretched about as high as she could to get her gloves on the ball, which skipped through and into the back of the net for the decisive score. “Abbi’s hands were on it and it went right through,” Galax coach Troy Barkley said. “ Just a fluke. I told them after the game, in the first half we played much better, in the second half they stayed on our side of the field the whole time, and sooner or later they were going to put one in the net.” Floyd County outshot the Maroon Tide 18-4 but narrowly averted overtime as Galax made one final charge. With a little more than two minutes remaining, Chantasy Cottrell sent a perfect leading pass to Jessica Reyes, who soon found herself behind the Floyd Count defenders. Floyd keeper Heather Linkous left the goal to cut down the angle, and Reyes’ shot sailed just a few feet wide left. It was one of numerous potential scoring opportunities for Galax that was just a whisker off one way or another. Galax had several possible breakaways in the first half come up empty as a leading pass or a cross was a little strong or a touch off-line. “We’re getting there, it’s just a couple of clicks off,” Barkley said. “But once it clicks we should be pretty tough. Hopefully in the next couple of games we’ll get it figured out.” Galax worked one attack to perfection in the 23rd minute, enabling the Tide to take a 1-0 advantage into the second half. Reyes took a penetrating pass near the 18 and dished off to Patricia Reyes to the left. Reyes freed herself from the Floyd defender and curled a low shot just inside the left post and just out of reach of a diving Linkous.  Floyd’s Sara Schula bounced a 22-yard direct kick off the post four minutes into the second half and the Buffaloes finally tied the match two minutes later. A Maroon Tide clearing pass went astray and straight to Caroline Stark, who found herself completely open with Ponce on the far side of the goal. Stark converted the easy opportunity, one of nine shots on goal by the Buffaloes on the day. Ponce was able to stop seven of those shots, but quantity equaled quality for Floyd, which managed enough attacks to finally overtake the Maroon Tide. Still, Barkley was pleased with the progress his team made since its last meeting with Floyd. “I think we improved tenfold from the last time we played them,” he said. “We’re starting to peak at the right time. These good teams we’re playing, we’re getting to where we can play with them, so at district and region time, we should be good to go.”   Floyd County 2, Galax 1 Scoring summary: Gx – P.Reyes 23’ (J.Reyes); FC – Blevins 45’ (unassisted); FC – Williams 72’ (unassisted).                                   FCHS  GHS Shots (on goal)        18(9)    4(2) Fouls                          4          5 Corner kicks              3          1 Offsides                     0          0 Yellow cards             1           0 Red cards                  0           0 Saves                         7          1   Yellow card – Dominguez (FC).