Golden goal win for Tide boys

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Galax won the MED tournament in overtime; Tide girls ousted in region first round.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

RINER –– As time wore on in the Mountain Empire District boys’ soccer tournament finals Thursday, minute after scoreless minute, Galax head coach Troy Barkley began to think to himself, “This is a no-lose situation.”

Though he was ruminating in philosophical terms, it turns out that his thoughts were correct in more practical matters as well.

After 80 goal-free minutes of regulation and two fruitless five-minute overtimes, 90 minutes during which the Maroon Tide impressed its coach more and more, Galax finally scored – a golden goal, an only goal – to edge Auburn 1-0 for the tournament title.

In the 93rd minute, Ricardo Osuna initiated the sudden victory sequence, two-thirds of the way down the right sideline, with a throw-in to Brayan Mejia. A sophomore, Mejia crossed the ball to the left-middle toward freshman Junior Garcia who, from at least 35 yards away, squeezed a low, skipping game-winner into a two-foot window between the left post and the mitts of diving Auburn keeper Carter Brockman.

“It just shows their resolve,” Barkley said. “We’ve got a young team, we graduated 12 players from last year [nine were starters] and they just keep impressing me, every time in these kinds of moments. In this game, toward the end, I was thinking to myself, ‘It’s a no-lose situation.’ They’ve learned so much and they’ve shown me so much that they’ve grown and they’ve improved so much throughout the season. The resolve right there, I love it to death. It means we’re doing something right.”

Galax has done little wrong all season and will carry a 15-0 record, including 11 shutouts, into its Region 1C quarterfinal match Wednesday in Wytheville against the winner of Monday’s George Wythe-Parry McCluer quarterfinal.

Auburn has cut its goal differential in half the three times it has faced Galax, from 4-0 in March to 2-0 two weeks ago to 1-0 on Thursday.

“They are a very good defensive team,” Barkley said. “They’re well-coached. They run a system that works for them and they run it well. You can see by the stats, you’re going to outshoot that kind of team but with that much pressure and they clear the ball well, they’re going to be successful.”

Galax did dominate in terms of shots, 39-10 (including 15-6 on goal), but Auburn had the two best opportunities in the first 20 minutes, a pair of blasts by Gage Phillips from the same spot outside the right corner of the 6-yard box. Both were smothered by Tide keeper Josue Solis.

Galax fired away from near and far, letting fly from as deep as 40 yards and unable to capitalize on nearer opportunities, including several inside the 18. Meanwhile, one of Auburn’s better chances came in the first overtime session on a direct kick from 15 yards inside its own defensive zone. Brockman took the kick and boomed a 70-yard rocket between the pipes, where Solis made a leaping catch to control a difficult ball.

“It shows them that when things aren’t going your way, you’re not scoring in the first five minutes and you have to work for it for 80 or 90 minutes, if you keep working at it and keep banging your head against that wall, sooner or later you’re going to break through,” Barkley said. “That’s a good lesson to learn.”

Auburn advances to region play as well and will host Bath County today (Monday). The winner of that one faces Parry McCluer in Wednesday’s second semifinal.


Galax 1, Auburn 0

MED tournament championship

Halftime – Tied, 0-0

Scoring summary: Gx–Garcia 93’ (Mejia).

                          Aub   Gx

Shots (on goal) 10(6)   39(15)

Corner kicks           1    10

Fouls                     12   9

Offsides                  0   1

Penalty kicks        0/0   0/0

Yellow cards            0   1

Red cards                0   0

Saves                    14   6



Auburn 6, Galax 0: Jessica Musselman tallied two goals and an assist Thursday in Riner to lead the Eagles past the Maroon Tide in the opening round of the Region 1C/2C tournament.

Defensively, Auburn smothered Galax and allowed one shot on goal, that coming on a second half direct kick.

Musselman assisted Jessica Nagle on an Eagle goal 16 minutes in, scored unassisted seven minutes later for a 2-0 Auburn lead at the half.

Musselman drilled a centering pass that was deflected into the net for an own goal to start a four-goal flurry for the Eagles in the second half.


Auburn 6, Galax 0

Region 1C/2C first round

Halftime – Auburn 2, Galax 0

Scoring summary: Aub–Nagle 16’ (Musselman); Aub–Musselman 23’ (unassisted); Aub–Galax own goal 53’; Aub–Nash 56’ (Smith); Aub–Musselman 62’ (Nash); Aub– Gilbert 79’ (Jones).


                          Gx    Aub

Shots (on goal) 1(1)    25(13)

Corner kicks          0    7

Fouls                    6    3

Offsides                0    0

Penalty kicks      0/0    0/0

Yellow cards         0    0

Red cards             0    0

Saves                   7    1