HHS Soccer Stifles TA
Streaks Get Revenge With 2-0 Victory
BRIDGEWATER – After the game, Parker Strickland openly admitted that he got beat in the heart of the Harrisonburg High School defense and got bailed out by goalkeeper Eric Alvarez, who was making just his fourth start in the net.
Moments later, Strickland returned the favor.
Sliding across the rain-slicked field near the far post, Strickland blocked a close-range shot with the goal exposed during a defensively stout second half as Harrisonburg shut out rival Turner Ashby High School 2-0 Friday night, handing the Knights their second loss of the soccer season.
The Blue Streaks (8-4-1) saved enough energy for a vibrant celebration after their fifth straight victory, shouting in a team huddle as a few players sprayed water bottles wildly overhead.
It was the quality win Harrisonburg was looking for, avenging a 3-0 loss to the Knights (8-2-1) earlier this season.
“Getting embarrassed at our place – that’s not a very good feeling,” HHS junior forward Jackson Taylor said. “It just [brought] the mentality of us doing the same to them. I think that’s what we played with the entire game.”
A three-minute surge on offense was all HHS needed to seize control, scoring on both of their shots on goal in the first half.
After threatening with a cross near the 6-yard box, the Streaks watched a TA clearance dribble out toward sophomore defender Jetzon Matute-Jarquin, who blasted a long shot into the top of the net during the 32nd minute.
“He struck it really well,” HHS coach Ted Erickson said of Matute-Jarquin’s second goal of the year. “We were fortunate it did take a redirection off one of the TA defenders.”
Taylor scored on a low strike less than three minutes later, after junior teammate Luis Vargas drew the goalkeeper out and laid the ball off.
But the Knights kept generating chances.
“In the last 15 minutes of the first half, TA really controlled the top of our 18,” Erickson said. “We were just really lucky they didn’t find the back of the net.”
Between the two goals, the Streaks were reeling.
As Alvarez went to collect a harmless ball, there was a slight collision that jarred the ball free and a dangerous cluster of bodies ensued in front of Harrisonburg’s net. Trying to gain control, Alvarez appeared to be backtracking across the goal line but somehow kept the ball in play for the save.
“It was close. I couldn’t see from where I was sitting,” TA coach Sheldon Rice said. “I trust the officials there. We just need to do a better job of putting it in the net so there’s no question about it.”
TA junior forward Manuel Coca-Fonseca casually bent in a long shot off a throw-in that struck the crossbar in the 23rd minute. The first-half strike seemed to energize the Knights, who looked for a whistle when junior forward Jose Martinez went down inside the HHS box after jostling past a defender. Play continued, and after a lull in the action, the Streaks scored in rapid succession.
A four-game losing streak earlier this season seems like a distant memory now for HHS as Alvarez earned his second save in four starts, transitioning from a position player to goalie.
HHS blocked several shots throughout the contest, yielding only four shots on goal against a team that’s averaging over three goals per game.
“I’m kind of speechless for that,” Taylor said. “That’s one of our best performances. It’s so nice to see. Early in the season we kind of struggled with that. We lost four in a row, and we just kind of turned it around and we started playing more as a team.”
And more like a wall.
“If we’re going to be a team that can go deep into the conference and region tournament, we’ve got to get numbers behind the ball,” said Erickson, who is leaving after this season to take over the Eastern Mennonite University women’s soccer team, “and the guys did really well getting behind and then not trying to win it, just being a wall. They can’t shoot it through you.”
Halftime score: 2-0 H
Shots on goal: H 3; TA 4
Corner kicks: H 3; TA 3
Saves: H (Alvarez) 3; TA (Overacker) 1
Scoring: H—Matute-Jarquin 31:06, Taylor (Vargas) 33:45.