Polk County’s Elliott Whiteside heads a pass to teammate Cole Pereira (10) during the first half of Wednesday’s match

Warhorses snap Wolverines’ conference winning streak

The team which last defeated Polk County in a Western Highlands Conference boys soccer match did it again Wednesday evening.

Owen took a 2-0 lead and held off a determined Polk County comeback to hand the Wolverines a 3-2 setback in a WHC match at G.M. Tennant Stadium.

Thanks to Polk County’s undefeated WHC run in 2019 and the delayed start to this season, the Wolverines hadn’t lost a league match since Oct. 29, 2018, a 1-0 decision at Owen, winning 11 straight conference games in that span.

The Warhorses (3-1-1, 2-0) controlled play throughout the first half of Wednesday’s match, getting the only goal of the first half in the 16th minute when Polk goalkeeper Greyson Ball made a sliding stop of an Owen breakaway, only to see the ball deflect across the goal and to the feet of Michael Borkay, who tapped it into the open net.

Playing with an aggressive up-tempo approach, Owen continued to apply pressure, leading Polk (2-1-1, 1-1) to push forwards Mateo Mendoza and Matias Akers back into the midfield and defensive areas.

The lineup shuffling began to have an effect, but the Warhorses still took a two-goal lead in the 52nd minute as Elijah Caro found a loose ball some 20 yards out, took one dribble to his right to avoid a defender and sent a low rolling line drive that slipped just inside the left post and into the net.

Polk County goalkeeper Greyson Ball makes a diving stop off an Owen shot during the first half

Polk, though, began to apply more pressure in the Owen half of the field, and were rewarded for that minutes later. A throw-in deep in the Warhorses’ end of the field bounced around the box before Jack Smith struck from some 10 yards out, flicking the ball into the upper right corner of the goal to slice Owen’s lead in half.

The Wolverines continued to apply pressure and had an excellent chance at an equalizer with a free kick from just outside the top of the penalty area, but couldn’t convert. Owen received a free kick seconds later in Polk’s end and did convert, with Cole Roy converting the rebound of that kick for a 3-1 Owen lead.

The Wolverines, though, were not done. A loose ball more than 30 yards out rolled to the feet of Carson Metcalf, who drilled a high-arching shot that caught Owen goalkeeper Charlie Hurt a few yards off his line. Hurt made a leaping attempt, but couldn’t reach the kick that settled into the back of the net for a 3-2 margin with 1:09 remaining in the match.

The Wolverines pressed for a tying goal, but Owen was able to repeatedly send the ball back downfield to thwart Polk’s hopes.

Polk County is scheduled to return to action on Tuesday, traveling to Avery to begin a three-match road trip that will include games at Madison (Feb. 18) and Owen (Feb. 22).