Hernandez bags three goals as Southside breezes past Ayden-Grifton

Published 8:08 pm Tuesday, August 21, 2018

AYDEN — It’s just three games into the season and the Southside soccer team has already had three different players with multi-goal performances.

It was Johnathan Hernandez’s turn as the team’s attacking dynamo on Monday, as the junior scored a hat trick to lead the Seahawks to a 5-1 road win against Ayden-Grifton.

“I like to be able to say I’ve got multiple players that can score because it’s harder to stop you when you got (multiple) players that can go forward,” Southside head coach Jay Petty said. “Johnathan (Hernandez) came to life yesterday and kind of led the scoring attack…I love having a really, really good balanced scoring attack going across the front. It’s kind of hard to zone in on one player when you’ve got four or five that can hurt you at any moment.”

Southside (3-0) got off to a slow start against the Chargers (0-2) and wasn’t at the top of its game in the game’s first half. Despite the sluggish start, the Seahawks went into the halftime interval with a 1-0 lead, thanks to a goal from Santiago Lengyel Serralde.

The halftime break allowed Petty’s team to gain its bearings, as Southside came out a much-improved side in the second half.

“We got into the second half and things just started clicking,” Petty said. “Players started making creative passes and creating opportunities; we got to going forward.”

Southside’s second score of the game came from a Hernandez penalty-kick goal. An Ayden-Grifton defender pushed down a Seahawk from behind in the box, and Hernandez dutifully buried the kick from the spot, opening up the floodgates for two more Hernandez goals and a score from Eduardo Gonzalez.

The highlight of the game was Hernandez’s third goal of the night. Lengyel Serralde began the play by beating two Charger defenders down the left sideline and cutting in toward goal. The senior forward then laid the ball off for Hernandez, who was waiting at the edge of the box. Opting for finesse over power, the hat trick hero curved a left-footed shot around the diving Ayden-Grifton goalie’s hand and into the bottom-left corner of the goal.

Despite outscoring opponents 19-2 through the first three games of the season, Southside still has weaknesses that can be improved upon. Petty said Monday’s first half demonstrated what the Seahawks need to work on.

“We still have to work a little bit better on possession through the middle of the field,” Petty said. “It’s always been kind of a little bit of a struggle, but we really struggled with that in the first half (Monday).”