BOONE —After struggling with South Caldwell in the first half of its first Northwestern Conference opener, the Watauga boys soccer team found its offense and claimed a 3-1 victory at Jack Groce Stadium Sept. 16.
Watauga (5-4-1, 2-0 Northwestern Conference) after knocking off Charlotte Providence 3-0 on Sept. 11, was sluggish in the first half against South Caldwell, which took a 1-0 lead.
“We got the win and we’re 1-0 in conference, but we came out really slow and sluggish and that did not look good,” Watauga coach Josh Honeycutt said. “We gave up a terrible goal because we did not communicate, we didn’t cover, we didn’t track back, we didn’t track the runners. It was just lazy and sloppy.”
It was a different story for the Pioneers in the second half. Watauga started to possess the ball more and eventually started to threaten the South Caldwell goal.
Watauga started its comeback with a goal from Owen Combs, whose shot from 20 yards snuck over the South Caldwell keeper and just under the crossbar on the goal. The game was tied until the Pioneers got a break with a free kick after a Spartans foul outside the 18-yard box.
Colter Conway took the kick and got the ball close to the Spartans’ goal. James Privette met the pass and headed the ball into the goal to give Watauga a 2-1 lead.
“It was good build-up and it was a good play,” Honeycutt said. “The second half was much better. We were able to bring more intensity and more energy. We were able to move the ball around and possess and connect. That’s what happened on that play.”
Combs added his second goal with 19:34 left in the game to give the Spartans a 3-1 lead. The Pioneers spent the rest of the game keeping South Caldwell (3-5, 0-2) away from their goal.
Watauga’s win over Providence broke a three-game winless streak. The Pioneers’ win over South Caldwell was their second and will try to make it three straight Sept. 18 at Alexander Central.
“Maybe we had a little rust,” Honeycutt said. “We’ve had only practices and our last game was Wednesday of last week, but yet it’s the first game of the conference. We have to make sure we give a better effort from the start. At least we were able to come back and bring the intensity and play with a lot of heart and get three goals on them and win.”