By VAN HOLLAND
SouthWest Edgecombe Cougars coach Kyle Blochl and his team were filled with excitement and joy on the field after they defeated the Tarboro Vikings 1-0 Wednesday at Indian Lake Sports Complex. The win was something the Cougars hadn't been able to accomplish in 11 years and it's a rivalry that Tarboro has dominated each year.
"I got here three months ago and when I took this job the rivalry was the first thing I heard about," Blochl said. "I'm almost beyond words that we were able to do what we did tonight. We played with passion and that is something I haven't seen much in them this year."
As the matches in the past usually go, Tarboro controlled the tempo the majority of the match, but it came down to who could get a break inside the 18-yard penalty box and squeak a shot by the goalie. That happened to be Cougar Connor Briley. With nine minutes left Briley got control of the ball after a deflected shot and was able to get a foot on it in traffic and punch it in past Viking goalie Jordan Williams.
"They wanted it more then we did tonight," Tarboro coach Leshaun Jenkins said. "They stopped playing the way that they've been coached."
Blochl was thrilled with his team's performance, because he used the same 11 players the majority of the match.
"We wanted this game bad," Blochl said. "We won because we believed. We played so hard."
Blochl was pleased with his team's defensive stance. Tarboro took 22 shots on goal and Cougar goalie Michael Parisher had seven saves. He made three saves within five feet of the goal on opportunities that Tarboro should've capitalized on, but Parisher's quick reaction kept Tarboro off the scoreboard.
"Our defense was huge," Blochl said. "We didn't give up any easy shots and we were able to contain them."
Tarboro was coming off of a 2-1 win Monday and Jenkins thinks his team was still drained from that match.
"We didn't get in any type of flow at all," Jenkins said. "We weren't able to recover from Monday because that match took a lot out of us."
SouthWest took 14 shots on goal and four minutes before the lone goal, they had three straight chances to score. Two of the shots were just wide right. One came off of a header and the other was a missed opportunity from a corner kick where the ball was loose and no one reacted to it.
"Our offense is getting better," Blochl said. "We talked about offense at halftime. I told them that we couldn't score if we didn't take shots. After that we played much more aggressive on the offensive end of the field and it paid off for us with the goal."
Jenkins said his team will lay the foundation for their next match and build off of the positives and learn from the negatives in the match.
"I have to give SouthWest credit they wanted it more then we did," Jenkins said. "They played with heart and I am happy for them."
The loss is only Jenkins' second to the Cougars in his 13-years as coach.