Head coach Ryan Jones wondered how the Person High School men’s soccer team would respond from a pair of blowout losses against Cedar Ridge (10-1) and Northwood (8-1).
The Rockets responded well Monday night, losing just 4-0 to Orange High School in their second home conference game of the season.
The visiting Panthers (3-5, 2-1) did not score until late in the first half, when they finished off a long through ball on a beautiful passing display.
“Tonight was frustrating because we can see how far we’ve come from the Cedar Ridge game,” Jones said. “Orange beat Cedar Ridge, 3-1. To me, the fact that we’re at a 4-0 loss, that means our team has improved in how we’re working together. We just need to get that killer instinct at the front line. I can see some gelling in the midfield that didn’t use to exist. Now, we just have to get those final through balls and opportunities on net. We really didn’t test this keeper like we should have.”
Person (0-4-1, 0-3) generated a couple quality chances in the opening half, with its best two coming from captain Elias Alcaraz.
The junior’s first scoring opportunity came 10 minutes into the game, when he sent a shot high and left of the goal.
Alcaraz found himself with a ton of open space 14 minutes later, put the ball on his left foot, then pounded a shot that sailed just over the top of the goal.
Outside of the two Alcaraz chances early, the Rockets did not threaten to score much in the game.
“What I would like to see us do, going forward, is have out mids push up and support play a little more,” Jones said. “That will give some backwards opportunities and allow us to shift from side-to-side. But that’ll come. The way you can get opportunities up top is by having multiple guys work hard to confuse the defense. In our first couple games, typically it would be just a kick-and-run-type opportunity, with one guy trying to chase down the ball. When you get two guys criss-crossing behind the defense, that’s how you get your chances.”
Rolando Ramirez was strong in net for Person, saving a whopping 24 shots.
He was tested throughout the Central Conference contest, particularly early, when he made three point-blank saved in a span of just two minutes.
Ramirez went out briefly with an injury after Orange’s goal with 4:30 to go in the opening half, then came back on to start the second.
As the Rocket defense started to tire late, however, Orange padded its lead with a trio of goals.
“I definitely think we started the second half strong in terms of energy, then it started to flag at the end,” Jones said. “That’s just something we’re going to have to continue conditioning for.”
Evans nets first HS goal in defeat
Ken Vazquez-Alonzo’s five goals led the Northwood High School soccer team in a 8-1 victory over Person Wednesday night in Pittsboro.
One Rocket enjoyed an exciting moment in the loss, as freshman Grant Evans netted his first high school score on a first-half goal. Angel Vasquez assisted on Evans’ tally.
The host Chargers (3-5-1, 1-1) carried a 5-1 lead into the half, then added on three goals.
Patrick Baquero recorded two scores, while Javier Bautista contributed another. Rui Aguilar led Northwood with two assists, while Jose de Jesus Barajas-Arias, Ben Schoolcraft, AD Astthorsson and Noah Hyman each dished out one.
The Rockets host the Chargers in a rematch on Oct. 10 at 6 p.m.
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