Hunter-John Hurst needed just 30 minutes to double the amount of goals he’s scored this season. Middle Creek needed all three of them.
In a goalfest where every build-up felt like another score was soon to arrive, Middle Creek held off Green Hope 5-4 on Wednesday night to stay unbeaten in the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference.
The teams scored seven goals by halftime, with Middle Creek leading 4-3. Green Hope set the tone, scoring 58 seconds into the match.
“I’ve had a hat trick before, not in high school though,” Hurst said. “Not in the first half.”
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In recent years, SWAC soccer was not as high-scoring. The team that won the most 2-1 or 2-0 games was the one that came out on top.
With five new coaches this year, including ones at Middle Creek (11-1, 7-0) and Green Hope (6-3-3, 4-2-1), the game has changed and the final scores have had more goals.
“We’re playing a different game here, as far as I know. We just focus on putting the ball on frame and finishing the ball. That’s a concentration of ours and a focus I’ve always had,” Middle Creek coach Guy Coleman said.
During the match, every build-up felt like there could end in a goal. But in hindsight, the most important tally was when Middle Creek’s Tyler Conrad snuck around the back post and hammered in a 59th minute goal after the ball came bouncing through the box on a corner kick.
The Mustangs were two goals clear of Green Hope with 21 minutes to go.
They said it
“They were throwing numbers forward, pushing us in the box and getting the advantage there. We played our game. I think we out-possessed them,” Green Hope coach Caleb Norkus said. “We’re showing a lot of talent. I haven’t seen anyone better than us yet and we’re young, which is great. We’ll continue to play soccer and we’ll start finishing more and more chances.”
Three who mattered
Hunter-John Hurst, Middle Creek: Had three goals in the game’s first 30 minutes. Now he’s got six on the year. Hurst’s first goal came on a bad giveaway by Green Hope, his next on a close-range tap after a long free kick and his third was a 30-yard chip that caught the keeper too far out.
“My team was moving the ball around well. We had some trouble in the beginning with the defense but we picked it up in the end and we finished this game,” Hurst said. “It was a good win too.”
Peter Moreno, Middle Creek: The midfielder came off the bench and played a solid game, Coleman said.
Chris Wallace, Middle Creek: His long throw-ins were a weapon that set up most of the Mustangs’ goals, sometimes indirectly.
By the numbers
52: seconds into the game Connor Munz scored for Green Hope on an assist from Griffin Brookshire.
4: Different Green Hope scorers – Munz, Dan Gutierrez, Matt Ostrander and Parker Washburn.
7: First-half goals combined.
17: The longest stretch without a goal was 17 minutes, from Ostander’s in the 32nd for the Falcons to Conrad’s in the 59th for the Mustangs.
16: Minutes between Green Hope’s first goal and Middle Creek’s go-ahead tally by Hurst on an free kick from Eder Montalvo in the 17th.
8: Minutes between Green Hope’s tying goal in the 19th minute by Gutierrez and Middle Creek’s go-ahead by Daniel Lutz on a throw-in by Chris Wallace.