By DAVID GRAVELY
In the season opener on March 13, the Galax Maroon Tide manhandled the Pulaski soccer team on the road. The 4-0 score was not a true reflection of just how dominant the speedy Galax team was in that game.
Fast forward to last night, and a completely different Pulaski County took the field as they hosted Galax this time at Kenneth J. Dobson Stadium. After a scoreless first half and nearly 38 minutes of the second half, the Maroon Tide finally found a crack in the Cougar armor. After denying numerous attacks throughout the contest, a short shot from the upper right corner of the box found its way past the Cougar defense. Despite a frantic last minute effort by the Cougars, Galax took the 1-0 win home.
After the game, Cougar soccer head coach Ricky Wright made sure his team knew how far they had come. “The first time we played these guys, they ran all around us. We didn’t look like we should have even been on the same field with them. This season is about learning and progressing. I know we wanted to win tonight, but make no mistake that we showed heart. I’m proud of the way you played tonight. You didn’t get pushed around, and you fought to the end. You never gave up. We need to find ways to pressure the ball up top more, and we need to just keep getting better.”
Wright knew the team was going to be challenged early in the season. With several key positions being played by sophomores and freshmen and a schedule filled with senior heavy teams, the Cougars have been forced to grow up fast. The squad has also been forced to deal with injuries to several players. Two of those players, Arman Cruise and Michael Cardillo, are currently still unavailable.
With or without those players, the Cougars (2-4) will head into the River Ridge District portion of their schedules on Tuesday when they travel to Christiansburg to face off with the Blue Demons. Junior varsity action will get started at 5:30, with the varsity contest set to begin at 7 p.m.