Falcons take down rival Rams

STRASBURG – Central’s boys soccer team entered Thursday’s match against Strasburg having scored just two goals during a three-game losing streak. The Falcons took out their frustrations on their county rivals.

The Rams jumped on top early, but it was Central that dominated the first half with a five-goal blitz that propelled the Falcons to a 7-3 Bull Run District/Conference 35 victory.

The win improved Central to 10-5 overall and 4-3 in conference play, keeping the Falcons in position to claim the second seed in the approaching Conference 35 tournament.

“We haven’t won the last few games or so and we haven’t really been connecting the passes and doing everything that we should,” said Falcons senior Korey Wolford, who scored three goals and added two assists in the win. “Once they scored and we put a couple in, I think that really motivated us to get some more back and definitely win the game.”

Though Central would eventually fire 18 shots in the first half, it was the Rams (5-8-1, 1-6-1 Conference 35) that struck first in what turned into a frenetic first 40 minutes. Strasburg sophomore Jacob Knapp flew into the box on the far post to head in a cross pass from sophomore Vinny Volpini to give Strasburg the lead just three minutes into the game.

Two minutes later, Wolford evened the score with a header off Ivan Alvarado’s corner kick, only to see Strasburg counter in the 12th minute as senior Alex Medrano raced down the left side of the field and into the penalty box before firing a 15-yard shot that hit the far post before crossing the goal line.

The Rams’ 2-1 lead would last a little more than nine minutes, when Wolford followed a shot from teammate Elmer Lopez that was blocked by Strasburg keeper Damion Howard-Wolford to tie the match at 2-2.

“They never give up,” Central coach Ted Poor said. “That’s one thing I have to say about this team, it fights.”

Korey Wolford’s second goal was the first of three in a four-minute span for the Falcons, who consistently pressured the goal with what Wolford described as some of the best possession and passing Central has displayed all season.

“Even our keeper (Dean Woodwell) said that – that was some of the best soccer we’ve been playing,” Wolford said. “We were working it, everyone was getting the perfect ball, perfect passes and everything. We were working really well together.”

Alvarado gave the Falcons the lead for good with 17 minutes left in the first half, when he danced around a defender at the top of the box before rifling a shot into the top right corner of the goal for a 3-2 Central lead.

“If I don’t have an opportunity to shoot usually I just cut to the left or the right, so when I did that I got an open shot and just took it,” said Alvarado, who also had two assists. “Tried to be a little selfish but it worked that time.”

Central senior Ben Truban scored two minutes later off Korey Wolford’s chip pass into the middle of the box, and junior Ethan Reinitz got into the scoring action with a goal to put the Falcons up 5-2 with three minutes left in the first half.

The Falcons’ three-goal outburst midway through the half came while Strasburg senior defender Justin Carr was sidelined with a hamstring injury, and Rams coach Kyle May said the absence of Carr’s leadership along the backline “definitely hurt us a lot.”

“They just anticipated the play a lot more,” May said of the Falcons. “… I think we were just a little slow.

“I think we just expected things to be a little bit easy for us after that opening goal. Then we scored again after they scored, and again kind of sat back and didn’t really take the game to them when we should’ve. We didn’t possess the ball as well as we normally do.”

The Rams cut the deficit to 5-3 with 28 minutes to play on a goal by junior Josue Medrano, but Strasburg couldn’t get any closer in the second half.

Wolford sealed the win for the Falcons with his third goal of the evening off Alvarado’s assist with seven minutes to play, and Truban scored his second goal off an assist from Julian Higgs in stoppage time.

Woodwell finished with five saves for Central, while Damion Wolford had 14 for Strasburg.

Central out-shot the Rams 30-10 in the match, and Poor said he was happy to see his team rebound despite dealing with several injuries that limited the Falcons to just four substitutes on Thursday.

“The boys worked hard,” Poor said. “This is kind of a slow field. This grass is long, so it puts pressure on us. But I was pleased with the game. We needed this win and we need to win on Tuesday (at home against Madison County), then we should have locked up second place.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com