Jul 23, 2014
Even before taking the field Tuesday night, Sanderson's Ryan Turner knew the East All-Star men's soccer team had a special kind of chemistry.
The teamwork played to the East's favor as the team pounded the West All-Stars with two goals from Turner and one more from Fuquay-Varina's Dean Rutherford on the way to a 5-2 win in the N.C. Coaches Association East-West All-Star game.
“I feel like when you come out of Raleigh to play soccer, you have a similar style of play and I think that brought everyone together to mesh really well,” said Turner. “Even though we were only out here practicing for a couple of days, we already had chemistry going.”
The East team has now won three of the last five all-star games against the West dating back to 2010. They lead the all-time series, 11-8-4.
The West found itself at an early disadvantage midway through the first half. In the 17th minute, Tyler George (New Hanover) capped a long run to the goal with an unassisted score from 15 yards out to break the scoreless tie.
One minute later, Bronson Watts (Camden) found Noah Kemble (Havelock) in the box for another goal. Two goals in two minutes gave the East team momentum that it never gave up.
“We had a team that had that kind of talent,” said East coach Matt Edwards of Millbrook. “Everything I could do to stay out of there way and give them as much opportunity to put on a show, that was the gameplan. They were flexible, they were versatile, and most of all they were passionate about being here.
“It was so exciting watching them. I turned into a fan pretty early in that game.”
The West scored the first of its two goals on a header from Campbell football recruit Mitchell Brown (Mount Airy) that was set up by Jordan Couch (Smoky Mountain). The team slipped in one more goal in the final minute of the first half, but it was negated on an offsides call.
Coming out of halftime, the East struck again with Rutherford’s unassisted goal from 20 yards out.
“I just used my speed. I’ve just been known to attack and attack and attack and I just found a way to put it in the back of the net,” said Rutherford, who will play college soccer at UNC-Charlotte.
The team kept the scoring run going several minutes later when Ryan Turner of Sanderson received a long pass from George and delivered.
“I was on the left side and I knew that Tyler could bang it across,” Turner said. “He played it all the way across and I saw that the goalie wasn’t out and I had a lot of space. I just let it bounce and settle on my foot so I could hit a volley.”
Turner added another goal, assisted by Garrett Bridgewater (Croatan), eight minutes later to make it a 5-1 game. The West scored once more on a goal from Couch with ten minutes remaining, but had little chance to overcome the deficit.
The East controlled possession of the ball most of the game and outshot the West 24-15. East goalkeeper Chris Zappia of Leesville Road finished with six saves.
George was named the Most Valuable Player of the game for his goal and assist.
Despite only having a few days to practice and prepare for the game, Edwards said his players’ bond and mutual respect for one another was even more important than their talent in dominating the game.
“They got along immediately and they played hard immediately,” he said. “All the things that get you into high school soccer and working with kids, they were on fire for those things.”
Follow Zach Mayo on Twitter at @ZachMayoHSOT
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