Holly Springs’ boys soccer team had only given up one goal on the year entering Wednesday’s game at Heritage. While the Huskies’ dynamic duo of Logan Shytle and Hunter Weiland changed that statistic, Holly Springs still came away with a win.
A late goal from Jonah Mulligan sealed the 3-2 victory.
Mulligan’s 74th minute goal was started by teammate Nico Gutierrez, who stepped in front of a Huskies pass and started a counterattack. He played it to his left, where Mulligan slotted in the goal.
It was the only goal Holly Springs (3-0-1), No. 14 in The News & Observer rankings, notched in the run of play.
“I saw him making that pass and I knew I had to go for it. When I hit it, I knew it was in,” Mulligan, a junior, said.
Early in the game, the Golden Hawks paid a lot of attention to Heritage’s Shytle, who entered the game with the most goals of any Triangle 4A player and led the Cap Eight Conference a year ago.
When Holly Springs center back Addison Faw went out of the game with injury almost midway through the first half, that got a lot harder.
No. 6 Heritage (2-2-1) went up 2-1 early in the second half as Weiland and Shytle came up big.
Weiland and Shytle combined for a goal in the 47th minute. Weiland lifted a ball over the top of the defense, springing Shytle into a 1-v-1 with the goalkeeper.
He tucked it into the net, low and to the right.
Two minutes later, Weiland took a free kick that perfectly found the head of Cameron Jarvis to go up 2-1.
“Once we decided that we should compete, it was a little bit different game,” Heritage coach Scott Sloan said. “I do appreciate the fight coming out in the second half, but I don’t want to be in a position where I’m expending so much energy trying to catch up.”
Holly Springs, which had scored in the fourth minute when Faw knocked in a goal after a long Aaron Latigue throw-in, had one last push left.
A free kick allowed the Hawks to score in the 56th minute.
Latigue sent in a ball that caromed off a player, then the right post, then the goalkeeper and another player’s head before Eddie Zuniga tapped it in.
Latigue only got one assist, but created both goals.
“I told the team, they have to score 30 goals off Latigue’s throw this year,” Holly Springs coach Brian Miller said. “I hate doing the big throw thing, but it’s a weapon. We have five on the season.”
Latigue said he has “been throwing like that since maybe U11 or so. And ever since, my back muscles have gotten stronger and stronger so I can throw the ball farther and farther.”
Mulligan had quite a few opportunities going at Heritage’s back line in the final minutes before breaking through for his game-winner.
Miller said he wants to schedule teams like Heritage in the regular season to get better for conference. Even with the seeding process in boys soccer, he isn’t worried about taking losses to good teams.
“We have 22 great guys. I try to get everybody in the game in nonconference. I’m not a coach that tries to win nonconference games. I could (not) care less. I want to win the conference. And if you’re the 1-seed in your conference, that’s all that matters,” Miller said.
Sloan’s team has plenty of attacking power, but the coach said he wants the Huskies to mark better and get better passing from back to front.
“Now we’ve got a week off” after playing Rolesville on Thursday, Sloan said. “I think we’ve seen what we want to see. We know what we need to get better on. We know what our strengths are, but now it’s just a case of moving forward. We know it’s not going to get easier in the Cap Eight.”