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HILLSVILLE -- With the scoreboard clock stopping at two minutes due to official time being kept on the field of play, stoppage time in a soccer match can seem to drag on forever. For Carroll County, it dragged on just a few seconds too long.
Having just knotted the match at 1-1 and the clock stuck at 2:00, Carroll County’s hopes were dashed when Galax’s Jorge Mendez connected with a penalty kick inside a minute from the final whistle as the Maroon Tide escaped with a 2-1 nondistrict win Monday at Tommy Thompson Field.
Frantically attacking as the final minutes wound down, the Cavaliers seemed to have missed their best shot at tying the match when Galax (2-0) cleared two corner kicks with three minutes to go. Matt Felts sent a rocket toward the Galax net from less than 10 yards away, but the shot was deflected on a fine save by first-year Galax keeper Michael Douglas, who pounced on a Cavalier centering pass moments later to preserve the 1-0 lead.
Felts had another shot strike the side of the net, but the Cavaliers won the ensuing goal kick. Jonathan Snow’s shot was blocked by Douglas, but Lucas Webb drilled home the rebound, apparently sending the game into overtime.
But with 58 seconds remaining, Mendez was brought down just inside the Cavalier box, setting up a penalty kick. Mendez sent a line drive into the upper left corner for the game-winner.
“I saw a foul and it was in the box,” said Galax coach Stu Frazier. “The [sideline referee] said he got fouled outside the box and fell into the box, but if he is struck inside the box it’s a PK. Once you’re in that situation, it’s a given almost. Ninety percent of them are going to go in.”
Carroll County keeper Zack Surratt was the busier of the two goalies in the first 40 minutes, holding Galax scoreless by stopping several Tide shots and beating the Galax strikers to the ball on other occasions as the half ended with a 0-0 deadlock. But the Maroon Tide finally broke through in the 65th minute. Picking up the offensive pressure, Galax had three near misses before Mendez centered from the right side to Jose Martinez, who sent a low shot toward the left side of the goal. Surratt was shielded from view until it was too late to react, and the Tide took a 1-0 lead.
“I think the difference in the second half was shots on goal,” Frazier said. “We had probably 12 shots, and maybe two in the first half. The more you shoot, the better your percentages are. Once we got the lead we tried to press back on defense, keep our best players back and control the ball more.”
Halftime – Galax 0, Carroll County 0. Goals (time/assist) – Galax: Martinez (65/Mendez), Mendez (89/none); Carroll County – Webb (88/none). Shots (on goal) – Galax 16 (8); Carroll County 8(4). Offsides – Galax none, Carroll County 1. Fouls – Galax 9, Carroll County 11. Corner kicks – Galax 3, Carroll County 5. Yellow cards – Galax: Mendez, Martinez; Carroll County K.Worrell, Moreno, Perez.