By Carey Phillips
Smoky Mountain scored twice in the second half to defeat Pisgah 2-1 in the Mountain Six Conference soccer opener Sept. 30 at Canton.
“We had a very slow start,” Coach Stephen Brown said. “We allowed them to go up a goal in the first half after they capitalized off an indirect kick. I think that woke us up. We responded in the second half and pretty much dominated. We out possessed them and out shot them.”
The Bears scored on an own goal in the final minute of the half. The play started with an indirect kick just inside the penalty box after a violation on what was ruled a pass back to the goalkeeper.
“After their player touched it, one of our players inadvertently hit it into the goal,” Brown said.
The Mustangs tied it in the 51st minute on Shawn Byfield’s goal from about 7 yards out on the left side.
“There was a missed clearance, and the ball ended up at Shawn’s feet,” Brown said. “Shawn got after it and disrupted their defense all night.”
SM’s Ryan Waliezer scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in the 64th minute. The play began with a corner kick that rebounded to Waliezer, who was about 25 yards out.
“Ryan found it at his feet,” Brown said. “He turned and had a nice solid strike. Ryan played very well.”
The Mustangs finished with a 15-6 advantage in shots. SM’s Zeb Sink made four saves, and Pisgah’s James Lee had six.
“We historically struggle over there,” Brown said. “We’re thankful to start conference the right way.”