RALEIGH — Athens Drive set out Wednesday to exact revenge on Fuquay-Varina, a team it couldn’t score on last year in two Tri-9 Conference meetings.
Thanks to a hat trick from Austin Brogan and seven saves by Angel Vasquez, the Jaguars did that with a 3-1 home win.
The two programs have developed a rivalry during the previous years, most notably when Athens Drive elminiated Fuquay-Varina from the 2010 playoffs after two regular-season losses to the Bengals.
“Any time you can get a win in our conference it is a huge accomplishment,” Jaguars coach Travis Seese said. “Everybody in this conference has a quality team. But especially when it’s a rival school, like Fuquay is for us, it makes a win that much sweeter.”
Both teams traded off possession through the first 30 minutes, but the Jaguars (5-2-2, 2-2 Tri-9) and Bengals (1-7, 0-5) each had four separate corner kicks that came up short.
The keepers kept their squads in the game as Vasquez and Adam Lawrence staved off shots on both ends to keep the game scoreless heading into the half.
After both teams fought for possession five minutes into the second half, a penalty kick set up an opportunity for Austin Brogan. The senior forward put the ball just past the hands of the diving Lawrence as the Jaguars struck first in the 45th minute.
The Jaguars didn’t wait long to score again as Brogan received a feed down the left side near the flag from Conor Gronbach and shook off two defenders and found the back of the net from 30 feet out.
Athens Drive coach Travis Seese said he expected nothing less from the senior.
“He knew we needed him in this game and he really shined for us,” Seese said. “He’s our leader on this team, the leading goal scorer and we know when we need to score he can find the back of the net usually.”
Interim Bengals coach Todd Dowler said his players might have been disheartened falling behind that quickly to a rival.
“There is a long history between these two teams, in the playoffs especially,” Dowler said. “So things might get a little chippy in a rivalry game, and especially when players get frustrated like our kids obviously were. When you lose control of the game, things like that are going to happen.”
Unfortunately for Lawrence and the Bengals, their lone goal came from Dean Rutherford, but Brogan matched that score with his third of the night to earn his first hat trick with the Jaguars.
“It means so much more to get my first hat trick against this team,” Brogan said. “I wanted to show the younger players on this team what it can be like when you’re a senior and you step up for your team. It’s a lot of responsibility, but it’s rewarding when you have the outcome we did tonight.”
The Jaguars held on for the win to move into the 5th position in the Tri-9 while the Bengals remain winless in the conference.
“The learning curve is harsh in this conference,” Dowler said. “But as long as we can continue to have fun and these kids remain willing to learn, we’re going to be fine. This is a conference where experience gets you wins, and we don’t have that yet. But we will.”