Wildcats fall on the pitch with Patriots

Published | Oct 12, 2023

By Jacob Zimmerman

Valdese- The Draughn boys soccer team came up short Wednesday evening in their second matchup with Western Highlands Conference foe Madison.

In a contest where the Wildcats failed to capitalize in pivotal moments offensively, Draughn
drops to 3-14-1 on the year with the 3-1 final to the Patriots.

“Overall, we’re a young team. I feel like we are growing, we are learning…it’s tough to lose but
we are trying to find our DNA and I feel like we are headed in the right direction…” said Draughn
head coach Herlinton Rugama.

Following Madison’s opening kick from the center spot, Draughn quickly gained possession and
played patiently with side-to-side passes among defenders.

The Wildcats first attack came at the 4-minute mark as sophomore Andres Garcia Lopez made
his presence felt early in the opponent’s penalty box by streaking upfield and nearly getting a
shot on goal. A corner kick following was unsuccessful.

The initial chunk of the first half saw Draughn and Madison change possessions on frequent
occurrences, with the ball staying in the middle third of the field for the most part.

Sophomore Mylton Lopez looked to have the most touches early for the Wildcats, and found
himself with a free kick in the 11th minute just past the half-line in Madison territory. The kick
sailed into the penalty box but bounced off target.

In minutes 12’ and 14’ a pair of breakaways for Madison both nearly ended in goals, with the
second, resulting in an offsides call against the Patriots.

The scare for sophomore Bryce Wilcox foreshadowed what would be the first goal of the match as Madison junior Avery Holland found the back of the net in the 15th minute after deflecting it directly off of the Draughn goalkeeper’s body.

Moments later Draughn fled back down the opposite side of the field with an attack in response
to the early deficit. Wildcats sophomore Barrett Dymora attempted a sharp-angled shot from the right corner of the penalty box, however, the shot on goal was captured just inside the goal post by the Patriots.

Towards the end of the first half the physicality of the student-athletes increased. A high-speed
collision occurred between Wilcox and a Patriots attacker at the penalty box arc, but the one-on-one bump did not result in any foul.

Soon after a yellow card was dished out to Madison after a Patriots forward committed a penalty on a chase down from behind.

In the final minute of the first half, Draughn got the cleanest shot they saw all day as Lopez
executed a nifty crossover inside the box. However, the open look traveled too high over the top

Coming out of the half the Wildcats underwent an aggressive stint on Madison’s side of the field.

Despite the pressure, quality shots on goal continued to be an issue. Garcia Lopez had a shot
just off target at the 45-minute mark. A free kick from midfield overshot the net. Another distance shot from 40 yards out was scooped up in minute 48.

The Wildcats crept closer to their first score of the day with a cross up the field from Lopez
intended for freshman Dalton Smith, yet the Patriots goalkeeper prevented any further action.

Draughn continued to flirt with a game-tying goal at the 58-minute mark, but a header from
Garcia Lopez off a corner kick didn’t have the accuracy.

Suddenly a comeback became a serious challenge as Patriots senior Tate Jones created a
two-score lead in the 60th minute. The score resulted from a corner kick where Madison’s
attackers found a better position and capitalized from just a yard out from the goal line.

The deficit for the Wildcats would become greater at the 71-minute mark. Madison Junior Logan Tuck made it a 3-0 score after a crossfield pass was deflected by Wilcox, taking a Patriots bounce right into the open shot.

Draughn managed to avoid the home shutout with five minutes left on the clock thanks to a
score from Andres Garcia Lopez.

“He trusts his ability. He trusts all the work he puts in and he was able to finish [with the] left foot back side near post on the goalie, nice shot,” said Rugama.

Two games remain on the regular season schedule for the Wildcats hosting NCSSM-Morganton next Wednesday and Mountain Heritage on the road on October 23rd.

“It took us a minute in the first half to try to find our rhythm, but once we got settled I think we were able to do what we’ve practiced…and that’s move the ball, find the open man, and play with a purpose,”

Scoring Summary

M: Avery Holland (15’)
M: Tate Jones (60’)
M: Logan Tuck (71’)
D: Andres Garcia Lopez (75’)

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