Throughout the first half Thursday, Polk County Middle boys soccer coach Lennox Charles worried his pre-match fears had come true.
Coming off a huge win on Monday at Apple Valley, Charles thought the Wolverines might let their guard down a bit, perhaps lose a bit of focus.
A 1-1 halftime tie with Hendersonville Middle seemed to support that concern. The first minute of the second half erased it.
Polk Middle snapped that deadlock with a picture-perfect goal, then added another late score to hand the Bearcats a 3-1 defeat at Utz Field.
The Wolverines (7-2) reached that halftime tie thanks to a goal from Topher Pearson, but Charles wasn’t at his happiest at the break.
“We were concerned that we might think we could just show up and win because we just beat Apple Valley,” the veteran head coach said. “I felt like we played with just a little bit of energy in the first half. When they started having some success, we weren’t prepared and started to panic a bit.”
Polk Middle, though, scored in the first minute of the second half, beginning a push from its end of the field and working the ball up one sideline, then across the field with a series of passes. The last of those came from Evan Jones to Eno Baker, and Baker drilled a shot from the right wing into the net to give Polk a 2-1 lead.
“In the second half we had more energy and we got off to a really good start,” Charles said. “That’s something we stressed yesterday in practice, get the ball wide and switch the field. Every time we switched the field we had someone wide open.
“The best thing about that was the way it happened and the way we executed.”
The Wolverines added an insurance goal with 11:43 remaining as Cole Pereira played a ball down the Hendersonville sideline, with Jones winning a footrace to the corner and lofting a crossing pass. The Hendersonville goalkeeper batted the ball down, but near Baker’s feet, and he knocked it into the net for the final margin.
Polk Middle returns to action on Monday, traveling to Flat Rock for a key Blue Ridge Conference match.