Erratic season continues for Southern Nash soccer in Monday's win


Sports Writer

Monday, October 22, 2018

BAILEY — Southern Nash soccer coach Carlos Barron has seen plenty of good in his Firebirds this season. He’s seen plenty of the other side, too.

“It’s like we’re the character Two-Face in Batman,” Barron said, laughing. “It’s like that. You can flip a coin, whatever it lands on is what you get.”

After dropping the final game of the regular season last Wednesday in double-overtime to Franklinton — a loss that showed the wrong side of the coin, giving the Rams the No. 2 seed and a bye heading into the Big East conference tournament — the Firebirds were forced to settle for the No. 3 seed, which meant no bye, and a home game on Monday with No. 6 seed Northern Nash.

The game was scoreless for the first 54 minutes, but a goal from the top of the box by Carlos Garcia gave the Firebirds (9-9-2) the lead, and a late score by Alexis Arroyo finalized the score at 2-0.

With the win, SNHS returns to Franklinton on Tuesday for a 6 p.m. start. They’ll have a shot at redemption and, with a win, will clinch a spot in the Big East title game on Wednesday.

Which team will show up? Hopefully, Barron said, the coin will flip on a different side than it landed on on Monday, where the Firebirds controlled the game for 80 minutes, created chances throughout, but came away with only one goal before Arroyo added a tap-in with 30 seconds left.

“I'm hoping they were saving their stuff for tomorrow,” Barron said. “Hopefully we play much better tomorrow.”

The puzzling thing about this season, Barron said, is that his Firebirds are a talented team; they returned much of last year’s squad that won the conference in the regular season and lost on penalties in the conference tournament championship.

“It can go up and down. Change of weather? I don’t know,” Barron said. “I'm hoping we can continue to put a good foot forward and make a little run. I’d like to see us make a run in the playoffs.”

For solid stretches, they have shown their talent: They finished 6-4 in the Big East after a 1-4-2 start to the year, beating Franklinton, 3-0, the first time the teams played.

“We all communicate really well, we know how to deal with each other,” said Garcia, the Firebirds’ senior captain. “We get unlucky. Hopefully tomorrow will be different.”

On Monday, a few minutes into the second half, Barron implored his team to just start shooting the ball, and to stop trying to get too fancy.

Garcia was the first to oblige, and his goal followed. It also wasn’t the first time Garcia had heard that message.

“A couple of games ago, I challenged him: get 5-to-7 shots per half,” Barron said. “Of course I don’t think he’ll do that but if I stress it, maybe I’ll get five from him. Those can go in with him. He’s got a wicked foot.”

Garcia and his team will look to bring that mentality to Franklinton.

And, if the senior could do one thing differently from last Wednesday’s game against the Rams, the double-overtime loss that forced them to beat Northern Nash on Monday, it would be obvious.

Said Garcia: “Win.”