John Diavatis and Reynolds were not going to be denied Thursday in a game between two of Buncombe County’s premier soccer teams.
The promising freshman blasted in two goals and Angel Bouchot added a third for the Rockets in a 3-0 nonconference shutout of homestanding Owen.
Diavatis was about 25 yards out when he squared up and blasted a shot directly in the upper-right corner of the net. His 15th goal of the season came with 24 minutes, 8 seconds to go in the first half and was the only one Reynolds needed. But just for good measure, Diavatis struck again with 10:52 to go on a breakaway.
“This was probably one of the best games we’ve played all season,” Diavatis said. “It’s a great win for us.”
Diavatis went into Thursday ranked second in goals and assists (10) for the Rockets (14-3-0), who are 7-0-0 in the Mountain Athletic Conference. Not only that, Reynolds has outscored MAC opponents, 34-0, and is fifth in this week’s N.C. Soccer Coaches Association 3-A poll.
The Warhorses (12-3-0) are ranked third in 2-A and undefeated (7-0-0) in the Western Highlands Conference.
“Owen is a very dangerous team, and (coach Tate MacQueen) has done a great job building up this program,” Reynolds coach Patrick Gladys said. “I’m pretty happy with what I saw tonight.”
Bouchot’s seventh goal of the season came shortly after the midway point of the second half. He cleaned up his own deflection from the right edge of the goal box after Owen goalkeeper Sam Linton batted the ball away.
Alex Cabe, Teagen Stalte and Fabian Fairclough had the assists for Reynolds, which outshot Owen, 13-4. Rockets goalkeeper Eric Lenhart got the shutout.
“A game like this allows you to take the temperature of where your team is at,” MacQueen said.
“We had some chances, we just couldn’t put them away. Reynolds is a very good team, and we knew that by scheduling someone like them that there was an opportunity to win along with the risk of losing.”
Reynolds appeared to take a 1-0 lead at the 26:10 mark of the first half, but a goal from Diavatis was negated by an offsides call.
The ninth grader was standing on the right edge of the 18-yard box when he blasted a shot past a defenseless Sam Linton in the Warhorses goal.
Reynolds is scheduled to travel to Asheville High on Monday, while Owen is back at home to host Mitchell.