Tide soccer splits in regionals

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Galax's girls dropped a 2-1 loss to George Wythe while the Tide boys whipped Rural Retreat 6-1.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

 Galax’s girls’ soccer team nearly did something it hadn’t done in its history. The boys’ team did something it seems to do every year.

The Maroon Tide ladies very nearly had a winning streak on their hands while the Tide boys advanced to the semifinals yet again in a pair of Region C quarterfinal matches Tuesday at Galax High School.

Galax, which entered the girls’ region tournament on the heels of the first win in program history, dropped a hard-fought 2-1 decision to George Wythe. The Maroon Tide’s Maegan Madrigal gave Galax a boost when she scored off a Sonia Solis assist just four minutes into the game, giving the Tide a quick 1-0 lead.

Though Galax would execute the play throughout the afternoon, the Tide could never quite pull off the clean shot that Madrigal found in the early going.

George Wythe, the Hogoheegee District runner-up, tied the game in the 17th minute on an excellent feed from Kelby Dove to Kerri Hardin. Dove, mere inches from the right sideline, launched a perfect center to Hardin cutting inside the 18. Hardin settled the ball, dribbled in and completed the play for a 1-1 deadlock.

Hardin’s second goal came following a long throw-in from Dove, leaving Hardin a one-on-one and her second goal of the half, nine minutes before intermission.

Dove misfired on a penalty kick early in the second half and Galax picked up the pressure as the game wore on, producing numerous chances in the final minutes. Madrigal and Chantasy Cottrell worked into a 2-on-1 before the drive was broken up by Hardin near the goal midway through the second half.

Wythe goalkeeper Kirsty James prevented an own goal when she made a diving stop just outside the goal line with eight minutes left, and she snagged a point-blank shot from Madrigal seconds before the final whistle.

The boys’ match lacked any such dramatics. Jose Martinez set up Omar Ramerez near the goal mouth less than two minutes in and Ramerez tucked the ball under the crossbar to touch off a Maroon Tide scoring spree.

Edu Rojas scored two unassisted goals within the next nine minutes, connecting once despite shooting at a steep angle from the right side in the sixth minute, and finding the net five minutes later by flipping the ball over the charging Indians’ keeper.

With a steady rain picking up in intensity, Emmanuel Guzman had the shot of the day just before the half, gathering a Rural Retreat clearing pass and sending a high looping shot over the keeper’s head from about 35 yards away.

Galax had two goals wiped off by offside calls in the first half and another early in the second half before Ian Anderson capped the scoring by converting a corner kick, heading in his own miss in the 53rd minute.

Rural Retreat finally got on the board with 11 minutes showing when the ball slipped through the mitts of the Tide keeper, leading to an easy Indians’ goal.

Galax was scheduled to face Radford in the Region C semifinals Thursday at Radford High School, with the winner advancing to Friday’s final and next week’s Group A tournament. It will be a rematch of last year’s state championship game.

  BOYS Galax 6, Rural Retreat 1

Halftime – Galax 5, Rural Retreat 0. Goals (time/assist) Rural Retreat – Number 8 (69:00/none); Galax – Ramerez (4:00/Martinez), Rojas (2:00/none; 11:00/none), Rojas (18:00/Mendez), Guzman (39:00/none), Anderson (53:00/none). Shots (on goal) – Rural Retreat 5 (1), Galax 14 (12). Saves – Rural Retreat 4, Galax 2. Offsides – Rural Retreat none, Galax 7. Fouls – Rural Retreat 3, Galax 1. Corner kicks – Rural Retreat none, Galax 5. Yellow cards – none. Red cards – none.

Game called in 70th minute (rain).