Once again Wednesday, crunch time proved an unlucky time for Polk County’s boys soccer team.
Two nights after a late goal led to a 1-0 loss at Owen, another final-minute score spoiled the Wolverines’ hopes for a key conference win, Hendersonville getting an overtime tally to defeat Polk County 2-1 in a Western Highlands Conference clash at Polk County Middle School.
So close to being alone atop the WHC standings, the Wolverines instead now sit in third place, two games behind Owen and a game behind Hendersonville with a 5-4-2, 4-2 record.
“We showed we’re capable of playing with those two top teams,” said Polk County head coach Lennox Charles. “Our defense these games has done a good job, but tonight we had two mental lapses, and Hendersonville made us pay for both.
“When we play these good teams, we’ve got to be solid for 80 or, like tonight, 100 minutes.”
Polk County appeared to have notched the first goal Wednesday night, but an offsides call negated that score. Hendersonville (9-4, 5-1) then tested Wolverine goalkeeper Tyler Campbell and the Polk defense with a handful of chances from within the penalty area before finally breaking through with 17:22 left in the half. A corner kick that bounced free for a moment led to a header opportunity for Bearcat standout Pedro Bolanos, who drilled the attempt into the corner of the goal for a 1-0 advantage.
The Wolverines consistently pressured the Hendersonville defense throughout the game, and that attacking mentality paid off early in the second half. Nate Smart pushed the ball down the left wing before crossing to David Sanchez just outside the penalty area. Sanchez took a quick look at the goal, dribbled once to his right to clear a defender and then ripped a shot into the back of the net, evening the score at 1-1.
That proved the final goal of regulation, sending the teams to an overtime consisting of two 10-minute periods. The Wolverines came close to striking first as Smart bent a shot from the right flank that hit just above the crossbar. Less than a minute later, Hendersonville did score, with Zach Bogin finding a gap from 30 yards out on a free kick and putting the ball into the right corner of the net for the winning goal.
“We gave a good account of ourselves,” Charles said. “I think we played pretty well both games. Obviously, we’re capable of playing with those two teams.”