Locked in a scoreless duel with Hendersonville Middle at halftime Monday, Polk County Middle boys soccer coach Travis Aldred told his Wolverines to focus on finishing opportunities in the final 30 minutes.
Grayson Jones took that advice to heart, scoring three times in the second half to lead Polk Middle to a 3-1 win over Hendersonville in a Blue Ridge Middle School Conference soccer match at Polk.
Jones’ hat trick enabled the Wolverines to improve to 4-0. A pair of tough road games with Apple Valley and Flat Rock await Tuesday and Wednesday.
“I thought we played much better today,” Aldred said. “The only thing I’d really complain about is that we struggled to finish in the first half. We had a number of opportunities and we didn’t finish.”
That struggle led to a scoreless tie at the half, but the nets didn’t remain empty for long.
Jones struck for the first time with 21:54 left in the second half, drilling a high shot from near the top of the box, then scored again two minutes later with a high drive just over the Hendersonville goalkeeper’s hands for a 2-0 lead.
Hendersonville Middle, still looking for its first win of the season, nearly answered with around nine minutes left as a flurry around the Polk goal resulted in one shot off the crossbar and another just wide of the net.
Jones then scored with 7:18 left to play before the Bearcats tallied with 2:27 remaining.
“The team, as a whole, I thought we played great,” Aldred said.