WEST JEFFERSON — The top two teams in the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference squared off on Tuesday evening, and for this time around at least, Ashe County was the better team. The Lady Huskies came out on top, 3-2.
Valerie Keys scored the first goal of the evening in the 20th minute to put Ashe in front, 1-0.
Wilkes Central answered back four minutes later. A handball in the box resulted in a penalty kick for the Eagles. Sierra Massucco fired the shot by the Ashe County keeper to tie things up at 1-1.
The Huskies jumped back in front 2-1 off of a corner kick score from Alyssa Peterson in the 31st minute.
With just 23 seconds left in the half, Massucco fired a perfect free kick shot from about 20 yards out to tie the score right before the half.
Ashe came out quickly in the second half and took the lead on a rebound shot from Melissa Ramos. Emma Calloway got in behind the defense and fired a shot towards the far post that was stopped by the Eagle keeper, but Ramos was there for the put back to give the home team a 3-2 advantage.
The rest of the second half, Ashe was able to keep the Eagles off balance offensively while still continuing the offensive pressure. The Huskies had a pair of late corner kick chances to extend the lead and while the shots didn’t find the back of the net, the time spent in the Eagles’ end of the field kept Wilkes Central from getting anything going offensively.
With the victory, Ashe not only handed the Eagles their first conference loss of the year, but also took sole possession of first place in the MVAC. The Lady Huskies are now 9-5 overall and 7-0 in the MVAC. Wilkes Central fell to 8-3-2 overall and 6-1 in MVAC action.
“It was a consummate team effort. We were able to overcome a couple of early mistakes and with our ball pressure, we were able to dictate the pace and keep them uncomfortable and off their rhythm,” said Ashe County head coach Wes Rousseau.
Senior midfielder Bekah Bowers dropped back to an outside position and it really seemed to provide a big boost to the offensive attack.
“With moving Mahala (Land) to sweeper this season, our offense has really missed the ability to exploit the outer third of the field and distribute the ball,” said Rousseau. “Bekah has exceptional touch and is probably the best passer on the team. We felt moving her there would give us an extra dimension to our offense that we’ve been lacking, and it has proved to be pretty successful so far.”
Ashe will close out the week at home against East Wilkes on Friday. Earlier in the season, Ashe defeated the Cardinals on the road, 7-3.
*As of April 12
1. Ashe County: 9-5, 7-0
2. Wilkes Central: 8-3-2, 6-1
3. West Wilkes: 4-5, 4-3
4. East Wilkes: 6-5-1, 3-3
5. Starmount: 6-6, 2-4
6. North Wilkes: 5-6-2, 2-4
7. Elkin: 3-5-1, 2-5
8. Alleghany: 0-8, 0-6
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-489-3062 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87