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WYTHEVILLE –– It’s not a misprint. Just a mismatch.
Galax outscored its two opponents a combined 20-0 Tuesday and Wednesday to win the inaugural Conference 46 boys’ soccer tournament championship, in the process earning an opening-round home game in next week’s Region 1A West tournament.
Galax notched a surprisingly easy 8-0 win over host George Wythe in the championship match Wednesday night, 24 hours after tallying a dozen goals in a semifinal shutout of Patrick Henry-Glade Spring.
In the semifinals, the Maroon Tide was simply too much for the co-ed team of Patrick Henry to handle. With 10 girls on the 18-person squad, including goalkeeper Sam McCauley, the Rebels were overmatched and found themselves trailing by six goals less than midway through the first half.
Nine different Galax players scored at least one goal each, and the Maroon Tide’s first line of forwards saw around 10 minutes of playing time before retiring for the afternoon.
Numerous Galax goals were the result of the Maroon Tide controlling Patrick Henry goal kicks, leading to advantageous attacks back toward the Rebel goal. Isaac Jordan started the first such charge, sending a leading pass to Edgar Guzman, who split two Rebel defenders on the right side before his well-placed shot just inside the far post gave Galax a 1-0 lead barely two minutes into the match.
Sixty-two seconds later the same scenario unfolded again, with Isaac Tracy the one controlling the goal kick and Mario Carranza doing the finishing.
Tracy and Carranza hooked up again in the ninth minute as a long lead from Tracy left Carranza one-on-one with McCauley. Carranza converted for a 3-0 lead with 31 minutes still to play in the first half.
Denver Nuckolls gathered a rebeound on the left side near the end line and stretched the top of the net from an impossible angle and Sebastian Gomez clanged a rocket off the crossbar and down behind the line to widen Galax’s lead to five goals in the 14th minute.
Jordan’s leading pass to Andres Moreno kept the scoring parade moving along at a brisk pace as Moreno fired a long grounder inside the far post from the near the right corner of the 18-yard box. McCauley was far from a bystander during the flurry of action in front of her goal. The gutsy junior blocked numerous shots in between Galax goals, sacrificing her arms and torso to keep the score as close as it was. She left for a few minutes midway through the half but soon returned and ended up making five of the Rebels’ six saves. She would be floored on collision with Rojelio Zavala in the second half on an unintentional play that drew a yellow card for Zavala, but she was soon back on her feet and stayed in the game.
But McCauley could only do so much.
Gordon Sikes let fly from near the top of the 18 and his deflected shot left McCauley with no chance for a save attempt as the gap swelled to 7-0 in the 22nd minute. Emeterio Arce scored the first of his two unassisted goals three minutes later and the Maroon Tide tacked on two goals in the final four minutes. A tap-in corner kick from Jovani Esquivel to Sikes left Sikes with a clear path to Jerson Mazariegos, who put the feed home with four minutes remaining in the half.
A later scoring opportunity was poked away by the Patrick Henry back line, but Sikes charged forward from behind the play and launched a rocket from about 25 yards away with five seconds left in the half for the 10-0 halftime lead.
Arce scored unassisted five minutes into the second half and set up an Eduardo Mata goal nine minutes later before the match was stopped at the 60-minute mark.
The Maroon Tide defense allowed nary a shot by the Rebels while Galax peppered the PH net for 31 shots, including 18 shots on goal.
No further information was available at press time on Galax’s 8-0 championship win over George Wythe.
Graham 4, Grayson County 0: The Blue Devils were eliminated in the conference semifinals Wednesday with a loss at the East River Soccer Complex near Bluefield.
Mason Figueroa’s goal put the G-Men ahead 1-0, which is where the match stood at halftime. Logan Surface, Joey Littlejohn, Sam Stowers and Jon Figueroa each had an assist for Graham.
The G-Men, now 13-4, took on Tazewell Thursday for the Conference 39 championship.
Grayson County 5, Richlands 3: In Independence Tuesday, the Blue Devils overcame a 2-1 halftime deficit with a strong second half of the conference quarterfinals, outscoring the Blue Tornadoes 4-1 in the final 40 minutes to advance to Wednesday’s semifinals.