BOONVILLE — Rams soccer is going to remember what they were able to accomplish Wednesday night against Ashe County for many years to come.
Down 2-1 with under 20 minutes remaining, Starmount struck twice in under five minutes and held on for a 3-2 win, their fifth-straight, and their first win against the Ashe County Huskies since 2010. With just more than 14 minutes remaining, a handball inside the box gave sophomore Victor Maya the chance to take the penalty shot.
“We had practiced for Wilkes Central the week before, because we thought that game might go into PKs, and that day I was number one in the penalties,” Maya said. “[When the opportunity came] all the guys were like, ‘Let Victor take it.’”
He did take it, and he scored to put the Rams up 3-2 during a giant shift in momentum. The Rams (12-4, 8-2 MVAC) already had led early in the game, thanks to a goal by junior Jeyson Pineda, but the Huskies (10-6, 8-2 MVAC) were able to respond. Seven minutes into the second half, the Huskies got their first lead of the game, but the team collected itself and fought back.
That’s where Pineda entered the picture again. Pineda got the ball off of a free kick, cut past a defender and shot it just past the keeper to the left-hand side.
“I’d missed quite a few, so I knew I had to take a shot,” Pineda said. “It brings a lot of pride to play for this team, because when you win, [the community] notices because it’s so small.”
It isn’t the first time Starmount has had to battle back in the second half. Down against Bishop McGuinness early in the season, the team rallied off five goals in the second half to win. With Wednesday night’s match being a conference match, the stakes were much higher for the team.
“I trust my players,” Zamora said. “I told the upperclassmen [Tuesday], ‘None of us have beat Ashe County. I’m trusting you guys to lead the team.’ Sure, I love the younger players… but they need leadership.”
“I think we’re a lot better this year than we were last year. Last year, we couldn’t beat Ashe, but this year, we’ve been one of the toughest teams in the conference,” senior captain Vicente Adame said.
“Vicente dropped back to center back and he did it without hesitating. It was that willingness to lead, my upperclassmen, that I think made the difference. They didn’t want to give up,” Zamora said.
With the playoff push already in full swing, Starmount’s next match is Monday night at Elkin at 5:15.
Ryan DeCosta can be reached at 336-258-4052 or via Twitter @rsdecosta.