The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

September 26, 2012

Gray Stone takes Eagles to OT

By Charles Curcio, Sports Editor

Wednesday, September 26, 2012 — The Gray Stone Knights varsity boys’ soccer team hosted the East Montgomery Eagles on Monday afternoon in a Yadkin Valley Conference matchup with the No. 5-ranked Eagles.

East Montgomery had not lost a conference match since the Knights earned a 2-1 win on Oct. 29, 2009, a streak of 31 games that was put to the test on Gray Stone’s home soccer field. The Eagles’ win streak ended earlier this month with a scoreless tie Sept. 12 against another highly-ranked YVC team in North Moore.

Gray Stone came within two minutes of ending the Eagles’ conference unbeaten streak in the game, but in the second overtime, the Eagles scored and took a 3-2 win back to Biscoe.

After a scoreless first half, Gray Stone (2-3-1, 1-3 YVC) took the lead in the 45th minute when John Latimer found a loose ball in midair in the penalty area and flicked a shot into the  upper right corner of the goal for a 1-0 Knightslead.

Six minutes later, the Eagles (8-2-2, 5-0-1) appeared to tie the game on a rebound shot in the crease area but were called offsides at the last second.

With just over 20 minutes remaining in regulation, East Montgomery tied the match 1-1 with a goal.

The Knights continued to fend off the Eagles’ enormous offensive pressure, including saves from goalkeeper Alex Irving, which kept Gray Stone in the match.

Gray Stone’s defensive efforts and long passes up the middle of the field finally paid off with 2:58 left in regulation. Another long pass through the East defenders found Latimer’s foot down the right side of the field. Latimer made no mistake in finishing the pass off to give the Knights a 2-1 advantage.

Ninety seconds later, East Montgomery took a shot on the left wing that just barely crossed over the line despite Irving’s best efforts and the match went to the two 10-minute overtime periods.

Neither team scored in the first overtime period, inclu-ding a point-blank shot in the final minute that Irving turned away on a miraculous diving save.

In the opening seconds of the second overtime, the Eagles got a breakaway attempt through a mishandled ball and scored past Irving, who came out of his net in order to cut down on the angle of the shot.

“We are finally starting to come into our defensive shape; we are gelling and becoming more cohesive,” Gray Stone head coach Jeff Morris said. “We gave them a run for their money.”

Morris also praised the efforts of Irving in the game, saying that the goals against him in the game were not his fault.

Gray Stone travels to South Stanly on Wednesday night.