Josh Trejo knew Avery’s boys soccer team would come into G.M. Tennant Stadium on Wednesday night and present a challenge much better than its record indicated.
That Polk County scored a quick goal didn’t ease his concerns – for good reason.
Avery’s defense kept Polk frustrated much of the evening before the Wolverines scored a pair of late goals to claim a 4-2 Western Highlands Conference win.
The Vikings (3-6-2, 0-3) entered having posted close losses against Madison and Mountain Heritage. The one-goal loss to the Patriots, especially, got Trejo’s attention.
“I saw Madison just beat them 3-2, so I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy breezy game,” he said. “I knew they were going to come to play. When we scored that first goal, I still knew it was coming.
“We came off an unbelievable win at Owen and came out and looked like we didn’t even compete at Owen. We’ve got to grow mentally. We cannot come out with the mentality that any match is going to be an easy win.”
That first goal for the Wolverines (11-2, 3-0) came in the third minute as Grayson Jones fired a drive from the right side of the penalty area, the latest in a long line this season of early Wolverine goals. Avery then scored on a breakway off a throw-in in the 18th minute to even the match.
Polk retook the lead in the 29th minute as Matias Akers drove around two defenders and nearly to the end line on the left flank before sending a perfect cross near the back post to Dan Dougherty, who flicked the pass in for a 2-1 advantage.
Avery, though, again responded as Finley Serafim unleashed a rocket from deep on the left wing in the 30th minute, evening the match at 2-2.
The Vikings, already keeping much of their starters in the defensive side of the field, packed even more tightly in the second half. Most Polk surges – and shots – met a wall of seven defenders, sometimes nine, as Avery largely kept just two forwards in midfield and Polk’s half of the field.
Finally, though, the Wolverines found a gap in the 68th minute. Jones sprinted down the right sideline before firing a cross that Isaac Edwards, racing just ahead of two defenders, redirected off the side of his head, giving Polk the lead.
The Wolverines then added an insurance goal seven minutes later as Akers fed Edwards, who dribbled to his right to draw away defenders before flicking a pass back to his left to Akers, who easily put away the assist.
“I’m happy we got the win. We found a way to win,” Trejo said. “Hopefully this is an eye opener for us in that we can’t underestimate any team we play.”
The Wolverines are back at home on Monday, facing Mitchell in another WHC matchup.