The Cary boys soccer team trailed by two goals barely two minutes into their game at East Wake on Tuesday night and head coach Mike Dunphy’s lips were sealed.
Dunphy let his Imps reach an eventual 2-2 non-conference tie with the Warriors on their own merit.
“My intentions tonight were to sit back and let them play,” Dunphy said. “They have to figure it out. I can’t be always correcting them. This was that game. If we don’t start figuring those things out on our own now, we’re going to struggle getting into conference play next week.”
Sure enough, Cary figured something out and quickly shifted the momentum.
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The Imps controlled the possession for much of the remainder of the half and sophomore Quinn Dunphy, the coach’s son, scored in the ninth minute on an assist from Eruby Toledo de Jesus to cut the deficit in half. Freshman substitute Marvin Rosas then scored the equalizer for Cary with just under five minutes to play in the half and the teams played to a stalemate in the second half.
“I was proud of the way the boys responded. They didn’t buckle. They rallied around themselves,” Dunphy said.
Early on however, it was all East Wake (0-1-1).
Just 56 seconds into the game, Layne Gairrett headed a Jake Watkins pass behind Cary goalkeeper Johannes Dietrich for the early lead. It took the Warriors just 1:12 to make it a two-goal game when Watkins was on the receiving end of a seam pass from Steven Juarez-Reyes before slipping a ball by Dietrich.
“We started out really well in the first two minutes. But we’ve been building toward that, it’s been coming,” East Wake coach Michael Howes said. “We would’ve liked to have won the game. We let them back in the game. But this was a very good team. They came back and did a great job.”
Trailing 2-1, the Imps (0-4-1) appeared to tie the game in the 18th minute when Quinn Dunphy struck from in close but the play was ruled offside.
Both teams had their chances in the second half and each side finished the game with 13 shots on goal. But Dietrich and East Wake goalkeeper Jason Dean shut the door on the offenses after halftime.
Although the end result was a tie, the game was beneficial for both sides.
“I like scheduling these really difficult teams for us,” Howes said. “It really challenges us so we can get ready for the rest of our season.”
Coach Dunphy said he always expects a tough game at East Wake, and considers that a good thing.
“What I’m most proud about is that we’re moving in the right direction,” Dunphy said. “We have four straight losses, all of them by a single goal. So we’ve been in every game. Tonight we did a good job of locking things down a little tighter and giving ourselves a chance to win.”
The game was a bit of a dynamic matchup. East Wake carries just 16 players but 11 of those are seniors and another four are juniors.
“They can all play and none of them want to come out of the game,” Howes said.
Cary on the other hand boasts 22 players but has just six senior starters.
“We’re still an inexperienced team. They need to learn to compete,” Dunphy said.