In soccer, a team’s form dictates everything.
It sets the tone in training and on the field.
Tuesday afternoon, that was the case with both Tarboro and Nash Central.
The two schools met in a non-conference matchup at Nash Central High as two squads on different sides of the table.
Tarboro, a club that made the 1-A state playoffs last season, was looking to rebound from a disappointing 0-2 start to the year, while Nash Central wanted to build on the momentum from the Bulldogs’ best start to a season in more than four years.
Both teams accomplished different goals in a game played in sweltering temperatures, as Tarboro prevailed in a 4-1 win.
The Vikings (1-2-0) used a flurry of first half goals to secure their first win of the season, while the Bulldogs (2-1-1) were able to use a halftime deficit as a valuable teaching lesson for later in the season.
Jessie Futrell broke a scoreless tie in the ninth minute when he connected on a cross from Joey Lancaster to give the Vikings a lead.
Minutes later, Lancaster ran onto a ball for the backline to score another goal before Futrell found the inside of the net again in the 18th minute to give the Vikings a three-goal advantage.
The three goals in 10 minutes marked the Vikings’ first of the season.
“That’s who we are,” Tarboro coach LeShaun Jenkins said. “We like to score in bunches. That’s just the ignition... when we go on a strain of scoring. But when team’s hold us scoreless for 40 minutes, that’s when I get worried.”
Jenkins entered the match wanting to turn around things before Saturday’s apperance at the Coaches Kickoff Classic at WakeMed Park in Cary. He believes that the Vikings could be one of the top 1-A schools in the state this year, but have yet to show their potential.
Tuesday’s first half was a step in that direction.
Nash Central on the other hand is just trying to continue build on the steady improvements it has shown already this season.
The Bulldogs, who won just one game last season, upset Tarboro to start the year before tying SouthWest Edgecombe last week.
They opened the second half with a goal from Kevin Ponce and showed signs of making a comeback before another goal from Lancaster in the 71st minute put the game out of reach.
Still, Nash Central coach Ryan Cherlinczuk-Ruiz was impressed with his team’s efforts with 3-A Big East Conference play starting in two weeks.
“The main focus for us Cherlinczuk-Ruiz said. “We had an opportunity. I told our guys they had two choices: they could lay down or stand up and fight for who they are. They came, and despite injuries, they didn’t quit.”
Tarboro will play host to North Pitt on Thursday in a match that Jenkins said will set the tone for the Vikings’ weekend.
Jenkins, who designed his schedule to test the roster, said that earning the Vikings’ first win was important for his team’s aspirations of defending its Twin Rivers Conference title.
“We have never started 0-2... ever.” Jenkins said. “I want our schedule to build us. I wanted to schedule bigger schools like (Nash Central) and I have respect for them. Right now we have two losses to bigger schools and a win over Nash Central, I think that’s a step in the right direction.”
Andrew Ivins can be reached at 407-9951 or firstname.lastname@example.org