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With footwork like that, using one’s hands would only gum up the process.
A fast break goal that would have made Roy Williams proud gave Galax a 2-0 lead nine minutes in and the Maroon Tide held off Graham 3-1 in a critical Mountain Empire District soccer match Thursday at Galax High School.
Galax upped its overall record to 11-0 with the win and is now 4-0 in district play after clearing the big hurdle provided by the G-Men.
The Maroon Tide had two very good looks at the Graham goal go for naught in the first two minutes, but still got on the board early as Andres Medina’s perfectly-placed corner kick found Junior Espinosa in front of the G-Men goal, and Espinosa scored on the header for a 1-0 lead just five minutes into the match.
Graham worked the ball into the Maroon Tide defensive zone before the Tide back line cleared and sparked what would have passed for a perfectly acceptable basketball transition bucket. Four different Galax players worked the ball upfield, none of them using more than two touches before finding an open man for a lead pass. Medina gained possession just outside the 18 and dribbled past a Graham defender before unleashing a rocket into the net for a two-goal lead before the match was 10 minutes old.
Despite the quick start, Galax spent the next 70 minutes holding on. Graham got itself back into it when Forrest Yates was awarded a direct kick just outside of the 18 box. His shot resulted in hand contact by the Tide inside the box, and Yates converted the ensuing penalty kick with a low shot to the left, just out of reach of Galax keeper Mesiel Solis with 25 minutes remaining in the first half.
Galax misfired on some excellent opportunities over the next 20 minutes but was able to add to its lead just before halftime.
Medina came up with a takeaway in front of the Graham goal, deftly darted to his right and planted the ball into the right sidewall of the net just two minutes before intermission.
Another Graham push resulted in a direct kick just outside of the 18 but Yates’ shot was deflected as time expired on the first half.
Graham had a shot clang off the crossbar soon after the break, but Solis stopped all four Graham shots on goal in the second half.
Galax managed to take nine shots in the second half, placing four of them between the posts, but came up empty. The Tide was able to kill vast amounts of time by spreading the field and playing keep away from the Graham midfielders late in the match.
Galax outshot Graham 20-10 for the match, including a 13-5 advantage in shots on goal.
Galax 3, Graham 1
Halftime – Galax 3, Graham 1.
Scoring Gx – Espinosa 5’ (A.Medina), Gx – A.Medina 9’ (unassisted); Gra – Yates 15’ (pk); Gx – A.Medina 38’ (unassisted).
Shots (on goal) 10(5) 20(13)
Fouls 6 20
Corner kicks 1 3
Offsides 1 1
Yellow cards 0 1
Red cards 0 0
Saves 10 4
Yellow cards – Jordan.
Saves – Cook (Gr) 10, Solis (Gx) 4.