Late goal costs Southside soccer its first win

Published 7:08 pm Tuesday, August 26, 2008

By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
CHOCOWINITY — It was a bittersweet start for the Southside soccer program.
The Seahawks hosted North Pitt on Monday evening for the first soccer match in school history, but thanks to a last-minute goal by Panthers’ freshman Noe Hernandez, Southside was handed a heart-breaking 3-2 loss.
After the Seahawks rallied to tie the game at 2-2 on a goal by John Williams with two minutes and 26 seconds left, Hernandez silenced the crowd by outracing Southside’s defense down the left side of the field, then lacing a hard-shot past Seahawks’ goalie Hayden Huggins.
The Seahawks trailed 1-0 at the half after giving up a goal to North Pitt’s Cruz Lopez in the first three minutes of the game. But the ‘Hawks kept fighting and in the 54th minute, Michael Ward burst through the center of the Panthers’ defense and floated the ball over the head of goalkeeper Carlos Rivera for the first goal in Southside soccer history. It also tied the game at 1-1.
The Panthers grabbed the lead back with 13:51 left in the contest as Hernandez scored the first of his two goals on the evening.
But once again the Seahawks came roaring back. Southside kept pressing the ball into North Pitt’s end of the field all contest long and it finally paid off in the last three minutes of the game. Ward took a feed from Shakeira Lopez, got behind the Panthers’ defense, and then rocketed a shot past Rivera to knot the game at 2-2 with 2:26 left on the clock.
But the celebration didn’t last long as North Pitt responded with the eventual game-winner just over a minute later.
The Seahawks out shot the Panthers 17-12 on Monday afternoon, and easily could have scored four more goals had it not been for a couple nice saves by Rivera.
In the first half alone, Joshua Sheppard broke past North Pitt’s defense on three different occasions only to be turned away by Rivera. Then late in the half, Williams was denied by Rivera.
Another golden opportunity presented itself midway through the second half, as Ward was one-on-one with Rivera, but the shot trickled wide right of the net.
While Rivera finished with 15 saves, Huggins also was brilliant in goal, stopping nine shots, including two diving stops from point-blank range.
The Seahawks (0-1) will look to get their first win on Wednesday when they host Pungo at 7 p.m.