Alvarez

Watauga’s Jair Alvarez (10) works the ball against Freedom’s Alex Riegler (8) in the first half of an October 2018 match at Jack Groce Stadium in Boone.

BROWNS SUMMIT — For the last time in his prep career, Watauga High School’s Jair Alvarez saw his opportunity and made it count.

The soon-to-be Mars Hill enrollee was the difference maker in the 2019 North Carolina Coaches Association’s East-West All-Star Game as Alvarez’s goal resulted in a 1-0 West victory on Tuesday, July 16, at Macpherson Stadium in Browns Summit.

The goal came at the 69:10 mark of the 80-minute match as Alvarez slotted home a rebound off the East’s keeper from 10 yards out, racing past the East’s defense and crashing the net on a shot taken from 23 yards out by Brandon Linares of Bishop McGuiness.

“I always follow up shots,” Alvarez said.

For his goal, Alvarez was named the match’s most valuable player.

“It was a really big honor for me and my family to represent Watauga and show the rest of the state that Watauga is up there,” Alvarez said.

Playing in the match was an honor bestowed on Alvarez, who spent three days training with the other all-stars prior to the match.

“I’ve never played with the top players in the state, so it was a learning experience,” Alvarez said. “It was a lot of bonding, we all stayed close.”

Despite being an all-star game, Alvarez said the play was very competitive and at times heated.

Alvarez was the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference Player of the Year in 2018. The senior co-captain scored 26 goals and added 13 assists in 25 matches, both of which led Watauga. The Pioneers finished 2018 to a 21-6 overall record, a conference championship with a 12-2 league record plus a tiebreaker match win over Hickory, and made it to the third round of the state playoffs.

Alvarez scored several big goals for the Pioneers, including a golden-goal winner with 33 seconds left in the fourth overtime in the second round of the state playoffs over Concord on Nov. 6, 2018.

With the prep career now behind him, Alvarez will concentrate on starting his collegiate career at Mars Hill University, north of Asheville. The Lions play in NCAA Division II in the South Atlantic Conference and finished the 2018 season with a 6-7-2 overall record and a 2-6-2 mark in league play.

“I’m super excited,” Alvarez said of going to Mars Hill. “I hope this past game gives me a confidence boost into the season, and I’m look forward to playing.”

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