Mellow Mushroom Invitational

BOONE — There was a time when current Watauga boys’ soccer coach Josh Honeycutt played for former Watauga coach Doug Kidd.

The two, for the first time, coached against each other in an official prep soccer team in the consolation round of the Mellow Mushroom Invitational Aug. 31. The result of that game was a 1-1 tie with Kidd’s Swansboro team, and neither team took home the Invitational trophy.

That went to Asheville, which beat Watauga 2-0 on Aug. 30 in the first round, and then beat Mount Tabor in the finals on penalty kicks.

Swansboro took a 1-0 lead in the first half on the Pioneers (2-2-1), but Watauga’s David Sprague scored the tying goal on a breakaway later in the first half.

Honeycutt felt the Pioneers had more scoring chances than Swansboro, but could not convert them into goals. There were two chances that Honeycutt felt like, at the time, that the Pioneers would convert, but didn’t.

“There were two chances that I recall that were really good chances that we should have scored,” Honeycutt said. “It could have been and should have been a 3-1 game with us winning.”

Honeycutt said that a lack of following through on scoring chances hurt the Pioneers against Asheville, which improved to 4-0-1. Honeycutt said Asheville is a good team, but Watauga made some costly mistakes of which the Bulldogs were able to capitalize.

“We struggled to score,” Honeycutt said. “It’s an ongoing question mark. Where are we going to get our goals from? I felt like we had the chances to score, we just couldn’t.”

Honeycutt likes the way Watauga is playing. He said Asheville, Mount Tabor and Swansboro are quality teams and felt the Pioneers stood up to them.

“The completion was really high-level,” Honeycutt said. “I felt like against Asheville, it was a really good, physical game. We had our opportunities and yet again, I feel like our play was good enough to win.”

Watauga had to play the tournament without four starters, who are all out with injuries. Hatch Sevensky, a senior, missed the bulk of the tournament because of an ankle injury. He played briefly in the game against Asheville, but reinjured his ankle and was lost for the tournament.

The same situation held true for Walker Franklin, who also aggravated an ankle injury in the tournament. Holden Perry “played sporadically,” according to Honeycutt, but is hampered by a quad sprain.

Another Pioneer, Ruben Nelson, is dealing with a knee problem.

“Those are big starters who we’re really missing because we’re trying to fill spots,” Honeycutt said. “We have a next-man-up mentality and at the same time, when you’re missing those players, things change and you have to adapt to it.”

Watauga enters a difficult stretch in its schedule, starting with a road match Sept. 3 at West Forsyth, but the result was not available by press time. Watauga plays at Northwest Guilford on Sept. 5 and plays at Charlotte Providence on Sept. 11.

The Pioneers won’t play again at home until Sept. 16 against Northwestern Conference rival South Caldwell.

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