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Eagles Win Soccer Thriller!

Varsity vs Washington HS on 10/26/2010 6:30:00 PM
Posted Tuesday, October 26, 2010 by Kevin Travis, New Bern Sun Journal

Eagles win soccer thriller

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Gomez scores game-winner

Sun Journal

VANCEBORO — Sophomore Lamberto Gomez made sure West Craven’s eight seniors went home happy. The forward nudged a shot past Washington goalkeeper Seth Correll with just 1:35 remaining, lifting the Eagles to a thrilling 5-4 victory in Tuesday’s Coastal Conference action.

The victory for West Craven (14-3-4, 6-3-4) came on Senior Night.

“I saw the defender go back on the free kick,” said Gomez, who scored two goals on the night. “I saw the ball coming toward me and I just put it in the goal.”

Jaime Cortes, one of the eight seniors to be honored, tallied three goals. He now has 49 goals this season.

One of his biggest came with 4:36 remaining. Moments earlier, Cortes, who missed quite a bit of time with leg cramps in the second half, returned to the field and made an immediate impact. Cortes tapped home his third goal of the night to tie the game at 4-4.

Gomez scored the game-winner three minutes later.

“I had cramped up in both legs,” Cortes said. “I didn’t think I’d be able to score. I thought I was going to cramp up again, but I was able to score.

“Beto (Gomez) then scored, so it was a great night.”

The win over the Pam Pack (6-9-3, 3-7-3) made it especially sweet for the seniors  — Cortes, Antonio Lewis, Antonio Labra, Joe Valdez, Jacob Dudding, Michael Prince, Michael Doane and Sam Mitchell.

“I can’t say enough about this crowd,” West Craven coach Aaron Steele said. “I will definitely miss this crowd. Before the game, they talked about doing something they could tell their grandkids about, and I think they followed up on that.

“I think it’s a game Jordan Stadium won’t soon forget. The crowd tonight was amazing. It was like a professional atmosphere.”

Washington coach Jimmy Kozuch said it was a tough way to lose.

“It’s a tough loss,” Kozuch said. “The offense scored a couple cool goals. Unfortunately, we had a nightmare on defense tonight.”

Cortes gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead 15 minutes into the game. After Cam Ashley tied it less than two minutes into the second half, the Eagles responded with two quick goals. Cortes answered Ashley’s goal for a 2-1 advantage and Gomez ripped a 20-yarder from a sharp angle for a 3-1 advantage.

The Pam Pack responded with three goals for a 4-3 advantage. T.J. Crompton drilled a shot that that bounced off Mitchell and went into the goal. A terrific throw-in from Ashley led to a Bobby Jefferson goal that tied the game. Crompton then blasted his second goal of the night for a 4-3 advantage.

Mitchell shook off the onslaught and made some big saves down in the waning moments.

“Sam is a fighter and he makes up for his mistakes,” Steele said. “A lot of kids would go down after that, but Sam stayed in and kept his composure and made some big plays down the stretch.”

Cortes was able to tie it and Gomez knocked in the game-winner with the late rally.

“It’s amazing what he can do as a sophomore,” Steele said. “No coach expects a sophomore, somebody his size, to make the plays he makes.”

The Eagles, who have already qualified for the playoffs, end the regular season Thursday at White Oak. The playoffs begin Nov. 3.

Kevin Travis can be reached at 252-635-5669 or at ktravis@freedomenc.com.

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