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Once Galax realized that those long, booming leading passes it kept sending downfield were easy fodder for Glenvar’s offside trap, the Maroon Tide was just fine.
Besides, it was way too hot to repeatedly sprint 40 yards for no more reward other than to see a waving linesman’s flag.
After incurring five offside calls in less than 10 minutes of play, Galax adjusted its approach, worked through Glenvar’s defense rather than over it and advanced to the Region C semifinals with a 5-0 first round win Monday afternoon.
“They were dominant in the first 10 minutes,” said Junior Espinosa, who was whistled for four of the five early offside violations, “but we woke up and got the job done. I just started watching their last man, and it worked out for us.”
“The guys learn fast,” Galax coach Elizabeth Earles said after her team improved to 13-3-3. “We just reminded them to watch the last guy. We needed it to be called a few times and they learned pretty quick. We control the ball a lot better when we keep it low. We tend to lose it when we’re trying those long passes. We’re not very strong in the air so we tried to keep it on the ground as much as we could.”
Leonel Vega’s rocket into the upper left corner in the 15th minute stood as the lone goal in the first half until Espinosa scored on a controversial play in front of the Highlander’s goal just before the half.
A centering pass from Jose Rojas touched off a scramble for the ball in front of the net, with Glenvar (8-10-1) keeper Alex Ward diving toward his right post to make a block, and a charging Espinosa hitting the ground after getting tangled with Ward. Andres Medina’s shot to the far side was blocked by a defender, but the ball bounded back toward the near post to Espinosa, who was still on the ground when he popped the free ball into the net.
“I thought [the officials] were going to call it because I can’t play the ball on the ground, but I’ll take it,” Espinosa said. “It just came right to me and I kicked it in.”
The goal stood and the Maroon Tide took a 2-0 lead into the half.
Galax’s advantage grew to three goals a couple of minutes into the second half when Juan Hernandez took a throw-in in Galax’s offensive zone, dribbled to the right near the corner of the 18 box and skidded a ground ball that bounced off of Ward’s mitts and into the goal.
Glenvar had two solid opportunities to get back into the game go for naught within minutes of each other. The Highlanders’ Tyree Cooper fired direct kicks from just outside the penalty box in the 69th and 72nd minutes, both resulting in Glenvar corner kicks and both cleared by the Maroon Tide defense.
Glenvar spent its fair share of time in front of the Maroon Tide net, but keeper Ryan Cantrell needed to make but one stop of a shot on goal, none in the second half as Miguel Lopez, Donte Peoples, Tyler Bowen, Juan Moreno and Hernandez kept the Highlanders at arm’s length.
“I have no words to describe them except they are beasts,” Earles said. “I’ve said that before about them. They do the job. They know what they have to do, they go out there and they do it.”
From that point, Galax quickly put the game out of reach when Luis Turcios came up with a steal in the offensive end, caught the Highlander defense out of position and threaded a pass to Jose Rojas, who finished the play for a 4-0 lead with 25 minutes to go.
Medina was taken down in the penalty box and converted the penalty kick in the 60th minute for the final margin.
Region C Boys’ quarterfinals
Galax 5, Glenvar 0
Scoring summary: Gal – Vega 15’ (unassisted); Gal – Espinosa 37’ (unassisted); Gal – Hernandez 42’ (unassisted); Gal – Rojas 55’ (Turcios); Gal – Medina 60’ (unassisted).
Shots (on goal) 5(1) 18(10)
Fouls 11 20
Corner kicks 2 6
Offsides 0 6
Yellow cards 1 1
Red cards 0 0
Saves 1 5
Yellow cards – Lopez (Ga), Ward (Gl) Saves – Ward (Gl) 3, Montgomery (Gl) 2; Cantrell (Ga) 1.