According to Corinth Holders boys soccer coach Brent Walston, the center midfielder has to be the engine of the team.
Senior Aaron Lopez demonstrated his ability to keep the Pirates moving forward from his central role in their match against Southern Nash. The win moved the Pirates to 7-0 on the season.
Lopez dished out three assists, all in the first half, in leading the undefeated Pirates to their seventh win, a 6-0 triumph on Sept. 10.
Lopez connected with fellow midfielder Dane Martin twice in a three minute span at the outset of the match to set Corinth Holders up 2-0 over the Firebirds (Big East 3A), who fell to 3-4.
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The first assist came five minutes into the match in the form of a right-to-left cross to the middle of the box that Martin deposited in the left side of the goal past Southern Nash keeper Taylor Thimmesh.
Three minutes and 17 seconds later, Lopez found Martin again in the box on a corner kick that Martin headed into the right side of the net.
“Dane and I have been playing together for a while,” Lopez said. “We grew up together, and we have that chemistry.
“It’s nice to know I have a center midfielder beside me that loves the game as much as I do and will equally put out a great effort.”
Lopez produced another corner kick assist when he arched a beauty into the box midway through the half that Grant Austin headed in for the 3-0 lead.
“That’s what I aim for,” Lopez said of the location of his corner kicks. “Sometimes, now and then, we try to mix something different in, sometimes we go for the long ball and sometimes that works.
“Obviously, it would be nice for me to score. But if I see someone with a better opportunity to score than I have, I would rather pass the ball to him and get the goal.”
Lopez added the success of the corner kicks came in part from “all the Pirates going for the ball.”
“He definitely has that motor where he is moving all the time across the field – both with his communication and his body,” Walston said of Lopez. “He is a very big piece of our team - he set Dane up with a couple of air balls to give us a comfortable lead.”
Lopez didn’t have all the fun. Trent Tetterton took the ball up the end line before sending it across the goal crease to Chase Mozingo, who finished with nine minutes left in the first half to give the Pirates a 4-0 lead. Later, Austin scored from the middle of the box 55 minutes into the contest for a 5-0 advantage.
Jack Moeller added the final goal on an assist from Derek Kaple with four minutes remaining in the game.
“We did a good job of finishing today,” Walston said, “And we had several assists getting the ball up to the guys up front to settle and score – or the guys up front to send the ball back to the midfielders so they could set up things.
“We have a good mix. It was good for Dane as a midfielder to get some opportunities to get the ball into the net.”
The Pirates used that mix and a dominating effort all over the field in subduing the Firebirds. Corinth Holders owned a 23-4 advantage in shots on goal, and 9-1 in corner kicks.
Christian Green and Jack Roberson each recorded two saves for the Pirates. Thimmesh had eight saves for Southern Nash.