WEST JEFFERSON — Senior striker Horacio Serrato scored four goals to help the Providence Grove Patriots knock off Ashe County by a 6-4 score on Saturday afternoon.
The 12th-seeded Patriots squad had their hands full from a never-say-die Husky team, but in the end, the visiting team punched their ticket to the second round, getting by fifth seeded Ashe County.
Serrato scored his first goal in the fifth minute to put the Patriots in front 1-0. He added his second tally in the 21st minute.
Ashe started to amp up the offensive intensity after falling into an early 2-0 hole. Alec Roland flicked a shot on goal that was stopped in the 23rd minute. On the next trip down the field, Johnny Retezatu fired a shot that was knocked out of bounds to give the Huskies a corner kick.
Maybe the biggest blow to the Husky team in this match happened in the 28th minute when senior goalkeeper Noah Blevins was hit when trying to make a save and left the game. Blevins would not return.
Ashe had a corner kick attempt in the 30th minute but a header from Justin Lopez was stopped.
Providence Grove held a 2-0 lead at the half.
As the second half started, the Huskies came to life in a big way. Roland split a pair of defenders and finished an excellent scoring try to cut the deficit in half at 2-1.
The Patriots had the answer with a goal from freshman Jamarius Hughes five minutes later.
In the 50th minute, Roland fired a shot that clanked off the post and then a rebound attempt from Lucas Pruitt was stopped. One minute later, Jesus Barcenas had a header attempt on a crossing pass that was stopped as well.
Providence Grove took a 4-1 lead on Serrato’s third goal of the match in the 53rd minute.
The Huskies would not go away. Lopez fired a perfectly placed shot that made it between the goalie’s hands and the cross bar for a 4-2 score.
One minute later, the Patriots pushed the lead back to three goals when Jose Mondragon beat Ashe County goalie Harley Miller.
In the 67th minute, Daniel Lipscomb, who originally took over in net for the Huskies after Blevins’ injury, moved back into the field and was able to follow up a saved shot with a rebound goal to make the score 5-3.
With a little under two minutes remaining, Roland netted another goal to pull Ashe to within one goal at 5-4, but on the next counter attack for the Patriots, Serrato buried his fourth goal into the corner of the net for the final tally of the night.
Ashe saw its season come to an end with a final record of 16-8 overall.
“I was really proud of our guys the entire season for the way that they competed and the success we had despite returning so few experienced players,” said Ashe County head coach Wes Rousseau. “I will really miss the seniors and appreciate all the contributions that they’ve given to the program throughout their time here.”
Providence Grove (10-5-3) will advance to the second round and go to Monroe on Tuesday.
While the season definitely ended way sooner than any of the players, fans and coaches wanted it to, the future does look pretty bright with the Huskies returning all three of their leading scorers as well as key defensive players Daniel Lipscomb, Ben Brooks and Carson Keys among others.
“I really look forward to next season as well as we have a lot of depth and talent returning,” said Rousseau. “These were a fun group of kids to coach and I’ve really enjoyed the time I was able to spend with them this year.”
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-489-3062.