Running a step behind kept Polk County’s boys soccer team from taking a big step forward Wednesday.
So felt first-year head coach Matt Corn, who watched the Wolverines compete well with West Henderson before falling 4-0 to the Falcons in G.M. Tennant Stadium in Polk’s season opener.
The Falcons (1-1) tallied in flurries, scoring a pair of first-half goals within a minute and adding two second-half goals in a three-minute span. Three of the four goals came off crosses to strikers near the back post.
“They went toward the ball and attacked and we were waiting for the ball,” Corn said. “We weren’t the first to the ball, and that made the difference.”
While Corn felt West Henderson had the better of the evening in the midfield area, he noted that Polk did a good job of passing through the middle and into the front, though scoring opportunities weren’t always a result.
“Our last first touch let us down,” he said. “But intensity, effort, pride, all of that looked very good.”
West’s Ryan Mendez scored both first-half goals, tallying in the 33rd minute on a cross from Julian Martin and then again 57 seconds later on another cross where he just beat a Polk defender to the pass and slid it into the net.
Mendez completed a hat trick with a header in the 69th minute, and Irbin Villafuerte completed the scoring in the 72nd minute as he flicked a backwards header that sneaked into the corner of the goal.
Polk County will return to the Tennant pitch on Monday, hosting Smoky Mountain. That match will kick off around 6:45 p.m. and will also be shown live on NFHS Network.