Despite a strong second half, a slow start doomed Pisgah boys soccer in a 4-2 home loss to West Henderson on Wednesday night.
The Bears (1-3-1) fell behind 3-0 in the first half, and could not finish a comeback despite a good push in the second half.
“It was kind of a tale of two halves,” said Pisgah head coach Rodney Alt. “I think we came out the first couple of minutes and were pretty good. Then we had a few miscues on defense and lost our momentum. But I think we got the momentum back. We put ourselves in a pretty big hole but we fought back.”
West Henderson opened the scoring less than four minutes in; Woody Henderson broke in alone and rifled a shot past sophomore goalkeeper Alex Almaraz to make it 1-0. The Falcons doubled their lead about five minutes later, as a throw-in from the side deflected inside the 6, off an attacker and past Almaraz.
The Falcons added a third marker with 12:25 left in the opening half, as an attacker got to a loose ball inside the 6 and put it home to make it 3-0.
“It’s not the best we can play,” senior Tyler Metcalf said. “I know our team and I know our players and that we can play a lot better than we did tonight, especially in the first half. We just lacked the intensity that we needed that the other team had.”
The Bears got a chance to get on the scoreboard with 3:02 left in the half as senior Juan Rodriguez was fouled, leading to a penalty kick opportunity. He made no mistake, burying a shot to the far side to make it a 3-1 game.
Almaraz kept his team within two early in the second half, swatting away a cross that went over the top of the net. West Henderson regained its three-goal edge directly after, however; putting home a point-blank chance off a rebound to make it 4-1.
Almaraz made another impressive diving stop with about 20 minutes left in the game, and corralled a loose ball off a scramble with 12 minutes and change to play. The Bears’ keeper stopped 10 of 14 shots, fighting through a tough outing for Pisgah.
“[Almaraz] was solid,” Alt said. “He’s a fighter. He kept us in the match. He brings it every game. We all have his back and he has our back, so we’re proud of him.”
The Bears cut the lead back to two goals with about 11 minutes left; sophomore Zane Ponder buried a chance from inside the 6 to make it 4-2.
“They definitely have desire,” Alt said. “They want to play for each other. So we’re just going to keep working to get better and then have more consistency for a whole 80 minutes.”
Pisgah pressed hard to find another tally before the final buzzer, but ultimately fell by a pair despite a much-improved performance in the second half.
Pisgah will be back in action at home Monday night against rival Tuscola.
“[The focus needs to be] making a full team effort for a whole 80 minutes,” Alt said. “Playing as a team, staying connected. We had a lot of holes where we weren’t staying connected very well. But we’re going to work to put it together.”