Mount Airy won its sixth match of the season Wednesday by defeating North Surry 8-0.
The Granite Bears have been on a tear this season. In six games, Mount Airy has outscored opponents 48-3 and averaged eight goals per game. The early-season winning streak has also seen the Bears record five consecutive shutouts, this time with junior Edwin Ramirez in goal.
“It’s rewarding, for sure,” said Mount Airy coach Will Hurley when asked about the team’s strong start to the 2021-22 season. “We’ve just been trying to get them to understand that every day is a new day and we have to take things one game at a time.”
Strong starts are becoming a tradition at Mount Airy. During the shortened spring 2021 season, Mount Airy only lost one match and it was in the Elite Eight of the state playoffs – which was the team’s 14th match of the season. Before that, the Granite Bears started 20-0 in 2019, 8-0 in 2018 and 17-0-1 in 2017.
While it does feel good now, Hurley said he and the Bears aren’t getting too caught up in the team’s hot start. In fact, he said the team is not even focusing on conference play or state playoffs.
“We’re just focusing on us and trying to execute what we work on in practice,” Hurley said. “We’ve improved a lot from the beginning of the season and are getting better every match. Anything down the road is out of our minds.”
Hurley puts less emphasis on final results and more on how well the team is playing up to their potential. Even on Wednesday when the Bears scored four minutes in and led the entire match, there were times when Hurley got onto his team for not playing their style of game.
That said, a lot did go right for the Bears in the 8-0 win. Mount Airy took 26 shots while holding North Surry to just three. Granite Bear freshman Angel Osorno recorded his first career hat trick by scoring twice in the first half and once in the second. Osorno’s mark of eight goals this season leads all freshmen in the 1A division and is tied for 10th among all 1A players.
Junior Elkin Lopez added two goals in the win, bringing his season total up to 15. Lopez leads the 1A division in goals scored as well as points. Fellow junior Sergio Garcia, who had one goal and four assists against North Surry, leads the division in assists and is sixth in points.
Saeed Saavedra and Noah Lambert both scored their first goals of the season in Wednesday’s win against the Hounds.
Mount Airy began the match by earning a corner kick in the first 90 seconds of play. North Surry’s Jair Gonzalez headed the corner out of danger, but gave the Bears a second chance. This time, Garcia’s corner kick was headed in by Saavedra.
North Surry first shot of the night came in the 10th minute. Salvador Rodriguez took a cross from the midfield and maneuvered his way into a one-on-one situation with Mount Airy’s Ramirez. The shot was blocked and cleared into Greyhound territory by the Bears’ Noah Hart.
Garcia only needed a few touches to set up a shot before scoring Mount Airy’s second goal of the night.
The Bears’ third goal came from an Osorno penalty kick in the 15th minute. Lopez drew the foul by beating a defender in the box along the endline. Osorno placed the PK low and hard to his right for his first goal of the game.
Lambert made it 4-0 two minutes later when he scored of an assist from Gavin Guerrero. Lopez added an unassisted goal in the 21st minute to increase the lead to 5-0.
Mount Airy’s final goal of the first half came when Garcia stole the ball from North Surry’s defense. Already in the corner along North Surry’s sideline, Garcia crossed to an open Lopez in the box. Lopez trapped and placed a shot into the back of the net.
Osorno and Lopez each scored early in the second half. Osorno cleaned up a deflection from North keeper Edwin Maldonado in the 44th minute, and Lopez got his second goal of an assist from Garcia two minute later.
Hurley used most of the second half to try out new rotations with some of his younger players. Mount Airy’s defense remained pressed up most of the half, with the offense taking 15 shots and four corner kicks.
“We have a lot of young freshman that have a lot of talent and are very skilled,” Hurley said. “They’re really maturing as we go along.”
North Surry had a chance to strike late. A punt from Maldonado sparked a quick counter for the Hounds in the 79th minute. Edgar Vasquez went one-on-one with Ramirez and had his shot knocked out of bounds for a corner kick. North’s Bali Raya got a head on the corner, but the shot was stopped by the defense before it could get near the goal.
Mount Airy and North Surry will both be back in action on Sept. 13. Mount Airy (6-0) travels to East Wilkes (0-4) and North Surry (1-2) travels to Wilkes Central (1-3).