In a game marked by physical play and dramatic swings in momentum, the Surry County High School Cougars took the win over the Greensville County High School Eagles in soccer last week.
After a slow start that saw Surry seeming to get the better of the flow of play, Greensville managed to get on the board first when Blake Jarratt fought her way through several Surry defenders and managed to get the ball past Surry goalkeeper Malik Knightnor, forcing the ball in on a slow roll that seemed to take everyone by surprise and gave the home-standing Eagles a 1-0 advantage with 30:24 to go in the first half.
However, it did not take Surry long to equalize. After some pressure from both sides, during which it appeared Greensville had seized the momentum and might add a second tally to the board, Surry broke over the midfield stripe with Ahvyohn Johnson at full speed and in control of the ball. When Johnson broke past the defense, he hit a well-placed finish to the lower left corner of the goal, beating Greensville’s Daquon Goodwyn with a perfect shot just inside the post to tie the score fewer than five minutes after the Greensville goal.
Action slowed following the Surry goal until Goodwyn had to stop Surry’s Chaise Mangrum on a rush to keep the score even with 23:51 to go in the half.
Surry again mounted a charge with 11:35 to go in the half, but Greensville’s Kalib Turner broke up a 2-on-1 rush to keep the score knotted. Four minutes later Greensville defender Jesus Mejia stopped Johnson on a one-on-one showdown to keep Johnson from a second score.
With 3:56 to go in the half, it was Mejia again, this time stopping Mangrum.
However, with 2:20 remaining in the half and Greensville having had to substitute out their goalie due to injury, Surry’s Mangrum exploited a wide open net with the goalie way out of position and playing far off his line, burying a shot from outside the penalty box to give Surry a halftime lead, 2-1.
Greensville head coach Mitchell Smith was able to get Goodwyn back into the net for the second half, and Surry coach Trevor Brinkman outlined a second-half offensive strategy his players were never really able to fully implement due to how things played out in the second half.
The half saw Greensville dominating the run of play, keeping the ball inside Surry’s penalty box for huge stretches of time only to repeatedly fail to finish scoring chances over and over again.
When Surry did get possession, defenders would kick long clearing passes up to Johnson and Mangrum, who would then make runs at the few Greensville defenders remaining.
The entire second half played out this way, with Greensville’s first great scoring chance coming when two offensive players got behind the defense only to see the shot sail over the goal with 31:50 to go in the game.
Surry had a breakout moments later, but a wide shot ended the chance. Two minutes later, Greensville’s Turner outdueled Surry’s Johnson for the ball on a rush, and with 25:31 to go in the second half, Surry’s Mangrum was ejected following his second yellow card of the contest, the first having come after a first-half collision with Goodwyn.
With 22:04 to go, following another Surry clearing kick and rush from Johnson, Goodwyn was able to stop Johnson, and then, after another period of sustained pressure from Greensville, Surry finally made a mistake in the box, prompting a penalty kick call in favor of the Eagles.
When Greensville’s Christian Woodruff buried the penalty kick in the net, tying the score at 2-2, it appeared Greensville had all the momentum it might need to push through for a win.
However, Surry found themselves with another golden chance, with both Johnson and forward Mason Grissett getting past Greensville’s defense only to see the shot roll wide.
Grissett asserted himself again moments later but was turned aside by Ishmael Muhammad, and three minutes later Grissett again found himself rushing for the goal but was picked by DeAndre Anderson.
With nine minutes remaining, Goodwyn stopped a one-on-one break from Johnson, then Greensville mounted more pressure only to see a finishing shot sail over the net again.
With only two minutes to go, Greensville’s Turner outdueled Johnson and Martez Warren for possession of the ball in his own penalty box, forcing overtime.
Overtime played out the same way the second half did, only this time Surry capitalized on their one great chance of the extra periods when Johnson calmly finished a one-on-one break, measuring his shot and placing it in the corner to give Surry the win, 3-2.
Featured Photo: Roger Bell/Sussex-Surry Dispatch
Surry forward Ahvyohn Johnson, No. 10, eases a shot past diving Greensville goalkeeper Daquon Goodwyn to give Surry the first goal of the game in soccer Wednesday. Johnson would score two goals to fuel Surry’s 3-2 overtime win.