SKYLAND – Coach Josh Martin did not have the same temperament as his soccer team Wednesday night.
For Roberson’s sake, thank goodness for that.
“I was a nervous wreck. There were a couple times where I felt like I wanted to throw up in my mouth,” Martin said.
“The kids were all calm though. They were saying, ‘we’ve got this coach,’ and they never quit.”
Imanol Yepez-Frias broke a 1-1 tie in the first of two 10-minute overtimes and the Rams held on from there. They are alone as the first-place team in the Mountain Athletic Conference after a tense 2-1 win at Ensley Stadium.
“I have so much respect for those guys over there at Reynolds,” Martin said.
“There were two great teams out there playing with passion tonight. It’s inspiring. It’s enough to get me teary-eyed just thinking about it.”
The Rockets (11-3-1, 4-1-0) got on the scoreboard first. Izaiah Vignali settled a ball from about 20 yards out and was able to angle it in with 21:54 to go in regulation. That lead looked safe until Reynolds was called for a foul in the box with 7:06 to go. Kevin Ramirez put away the penalty kick to tie things up.
Both sides had a good amount of possession as reflected by the fact that the Rams (12-3-1, 5-0-0) barely outshot the Rockets, 17-15. Evan Goosmann was credited with eight saves for Roberson, one less than Rockets’ keeper Griffith Porter’s nine saves.
Yepez-Frias, who is a senior, has scored a team-high 10 goals this season.
“We played well enough to win and I can’t fault the effort,” Reynolds coach Patrick Gladys said.
“We had this one, and we just let it out of our grip. Overall, it was a good night for soccer. Both teams had their moments.”
The Rams and Rockets play again Oct. 24 at Reynolds. The NCHSAA playoffs begin shortly after that on Nov. 2.