Trying to keep a tradition alive having never lost a match on senior night under head coach Leshaun Jenkins, the Tarboro Vikings were highly motivated and ready to play Wednesday night at Indian Lake Sports Complex in an Eastern Plains match against the Beddingfield Bruins.
With an early goal by senior Will Dupree and a late goal by senior Tyler Harris the Vikings were able to prevail and keep the streak alive defeating the Bruins 2-1.
Tarboro improves to 6-5-2 overall and are sitting in third place in the conference.
"I didn't think we possessed the ball that well," Jenkins said. "We played with a lot of heart and really gritted it out because we haven't played in forever it seemed like because of the rain."
Jenkins just wanted his team to go out and play hard and with a lot of heart knowing his teams have never lost a match on senior night. They played up to Jenkins expectations considering the time that they had off coming into the match.
In the first half, both teams were back and forth until the 28 minute mark when Beddingfield tried to take control of the match. They controlled the ball over nine minutes making Tarboro's defense work hard. In the nine minute span the Bruins took seven shots on goal, but with a little over 18 minutes left in the first half the Vikings snatched the momentum away from the Bruins and began to attack offensively. Tarboro took two shots on goal in a 45 second span. With 18:56 left, Dupree controlled the ball off of a missed shot that deflected off of the Bruins goalie's hands. He dribbled past a Bruin defender and punched the ball in the back of the net to give the Vikings the 1-0 lead.
Beddingfield didn't lay down and quit. They took the momentum right back from the Vikings. With 3:23 left before halftime, they had a corner kick opportunity. Tarboro goalie Travis Martin rushed out of the goal and knocked the ball away, but the Bruins got control of the ball and took a shot that went by Martin's hands to tie the game at 1-1.
During halftime, Jenkins told his team that they needed to stop getting beat on defense and do their jobs. He told his players that they needed to get tough on defense and stop letting the Bruins take uncontested shots.
With the match tied at 1-1 at halftime, Jenkins decided to make a switch and move Dupree back to defense and rotate Harris up front, because of his speed.
"Tyler has a lot of speed and I moved him upfront in the second half to try and get that break away goal," Jenkins said. "I moved Will back to defense and it paid off for us."
Tarboro took control of the match the first eight minutes of the second half, but Beddingfield grabbed the momentum again. They reeled off seven shots on goal in a five minute span.
Tarboro grabbed the momentum back and keep the ball on the offensive side of the field the rest of the match.
With Jenkins instructing his offensive players to one touch the ball through the open gaps he explained to them that they would get off good shots if they were to do that.
His offensive players listened, because with seven minutes left in the match, Harris got a pass that landed in front of him and he dribbled around three Bruin defenders and as the goalie came out towards Harris he chipped the ball over the goalies head to give Tarboro the 2-1 lead.
Tarboro took 18 shots on goal and Beddingfield took 27.
Martin had 15 saves in the match.
With the win, it gives Tarboro more motivation heading into the final stretch of the regular season and with the conference tournament approaching.
"I have a good group and we stay motivated,' Jenkins said. "With the conference tournament coming up we have won it a number of times and I told my players that we are getting where we need to be."
Tarboro will be back in action Monday when they travel to play Kinston.