WEST JEFFERSON — Alec Roland’s big day on the field helped Ashe County easily handle East Wilkes at home on Monday by a 7-2 margin.
Roland’s three-goal performance would have been enough for the Huskies to beat the Cardinals, but he had plenty of help from his teammates to secure the victory.
“I thought we did a pretty good job offensively of getting numbers into the box and finishing on some pretty good looks,” said Ashe County head coach Wes Rousseau.
The first goal of the match came from Rolando Olvera in the fifth minute of play. Roland got his first goal five minutes later to put the Huskies in front 2-0.
In the 14th minute, Ashe County goal keeper Noah Blevins made a big diving save on a shot from Jonathan Lopez to keep the Cardinals off the scoreboard.
For Ashe, Justin Lopez and Josh Brettschneider both had scoring attempts in the 16th and 17th minutes, but the Cardinal defense was able to keep both shots out of the net.
Roland broke through for Ashe again in the 19th minute and tallied his second goal getting in behind the Cardinal back line and beating the keeper for an easy goal.
East Wilkes got on the board in the 24th minute after a handball was called in the box against the Huskies.
Senior striker Carlos Aquino fired the penalty shot by Blevins to make the score 3-1.
It took the Huskies just four minutes to get that goal back. On a corner kick in the 28th minute, a perfectly placed ball from Olvera found Jesus Barcenas for a score. Ashe would hold a 4-1 lead until the halftime break.
The skies opened up in the second half with much of the final 40 minutes of play taking place under a steady rainfall.
In the 57th minute, Lucas Pruitt was able to sneak through the Cardinal defense for a shot on goal that found the back of the net for a 5-1 lead.
Two minutes later, Aquino scored again for the Cardinals, this time on a shot that slipped by Harley Miller, who came in to play as keeper in the second half.
Roland finished off his hat trick performance with his third goal in the 70th minute.
Lopez added the Huskies’ final goal in the 72nd minute.
The Huskies improved to 7-6 overall and 4-1 in the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference.
East Wilkes dropped to 3-8 overall and 1-3 in the MVAC.
After the match, Rousseau said he still saw some issues the team needs to work on to keep getting better.
“I was less than happy with some of our play at times. I felt like even though the score was what it was, they (East Wilkes) out-possessed us at certain aspects of the game,” he said. “The defensive lapses that we had that gave up the goals are unacceptable at this point in the season. Those mistakes could be the difference in a loss or a win, and with the conference race as tight as it is right now, there are lapses that we have to clean up.”
Ashe will travel to North Wilkes on Wednesday. The Vikings are currently 2-9 overall and 1-3 in the MVAC.
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-489-3062.