CHINA GROVE — Carson’s boys soccer team was shopping for insurance Thursday night — and like a good neighbor, South Rowan was there.
The Cougars rebounded from a perplexing, early-week overtime loss with a resounding 7-0 victory against the visiting Raiders.
“Tuesday night against Hickory Ridge we had 13 corners and 26 shots,” winning coach Justin Buckwalter said after Carson (10-4, 8-3 SPC) kept pace in the congested league standings. “And we lost 4-2 in overtime. So it was good to come out strong like we did tonight.”
The Cougars, who won for the fourth time in their last five matches, came out like hyenas who hadn’t eaten in a week.
“We were clicking,” sophomore forward Colton Correll said after netting a pair of first-half goals. “We were making good passes and were able to spread the field.”
Correll was a finisher on the game’s first goal just 54 seconds into the match. Teammate Pedro Perez served a corner kick to the doorstep and Correll headed the ball past South freshman keeper Cameron Corriher.
“That’s just what Colton does,” SR (6-13, 4-8) coach Jamey Basinger said after the Raiders’ post-season hopes took a severe hit. “He’s a good kid and good player who makes that play.”
It was only the second time Carson has converted a corner kick this season, but it hardly mattered by the middle of the first half. The lead swelled to 2-0 and then 3-0 when sophomore Brandon Flores potted his 22nd and 23rd goals of the year.
“It was a great start,” Perez said after assisting on each of Carson’s first three tallies. “It was like the whole team was just pumped. Everyone was giving everything they had.”
Flores, who had five goals and two assists in a recent victory against Cox Mill, sensed the jackrabbit start changed South’s mindset. “It set them back,” he said. “They started giving us space so we just ran through and began finishing plays.”
Correll’s second goal came on a pinpoint feed from left wing Raunel Vasquez and made it 4-0 with 14:18 remaining in the opening half. Ten minutes later Khalid Myers banged home a 20-yard drive on Carson’s 20th shot of the game. And late in the half forward Silvestre Lopez drilled a 25-yarder past Corriher, who courageously made 18 saves in his varsity debut.
“They’re probably one of the hardest teams to face in our conference,” South fullback Hunter Altman said after SR was outshot 34-6. “Their midfield is amazing. But after the third goal we all got together and said, ‘This is not going to happen.’ We were better in the second half, but overall they played a much better game tonight.”
NOTES: Yobany Perez netted Carson’s final goal midway through the second half. The shutout was Carson’s fourth of the season… South’s all-county keeper Tony Ramirez missed the game with a deep thigh bruise.
The Raiders host SPC frontrunner Concord and Carson entertains Central Cabarrus on Tuesday.