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Beyond the Scoreboard: Reynolds, Asheville at top of talented soccer league

Reynolds (10-1-1, 7-0), not shy about declaring the goal is a state title, leads Asheville (12-1, 7-1) by the scantest of margins, thanks to a 3-2 win over the Cougars on Sept. 13. (Photo credit: Frank Vest / CC BY-ND 2.0)

The Reynolds High boys soccer team has lost one game all season, and that was to the top-ranked team in the state.

Asheville High has lost one game all season, and that was to Reynolds, creating a half-game deficit in the league race.

Sounds like business as usual in whatever the conference is named that includes these two soccer powers and Roberson.

With the nine members of the newly formed Western Mountain Athletic 3-A Conference near the halfway mark of the regular-season race, the top of the league reads like a dog-eared novel that has been consumed over and over.

Reynolds (10-1-1, 7-0), not shy about declaring the goal is a state title, leads Asheville (12-1, 7-1) by the scantest of margins, thanks to a 3-2 win over the Cougars on Sept. 13.

While upstart Erwin (9-3, 5-2) is in third place, always dangerous Roberson (7-4-2, 3-2-2) lurks close by.

Nothing new there.

“This is my 19th year at Reynolds, and I can say with almost 100 percent certainty that either (AHS, Reynolds and Roberson) has won the conference each year and we’ve all finished in the top three in some order every year,” said Reynolds coach Patrick Gladys.

“To know that you have four games every year against teams that can win the state championship has always been good for all of us.

“Our conference has had some ebbs and flows over the years, but it’s pretty strong this year. Erwin is really good and Enka has a good team. ‘’

Asheville coach Mike Flowe concurs.

“We’re hoping to still be right behind (Reynolds) when we get another crack at them (Oct. 16 at Asheville), but the conference is pretty tough,” said Flowe, who has a 7 pm home game with Roberson on Wednesday night.

The Rams are smarting, coming off a 5-1 loss to Reynolds on Monday night.

“We’ve been very fortunate to lose just one game the first time through (the conference games),” said Flowe.

“Roberson is going to be fired up coming off that game against Reynolds, and Tuscola, Erwin and Enka are all pretty tough. The league is really talented, more than I have ever seen.”

After losing in the semifinal round last season to the team (Marvin Ridge) that went on to claim the state title, Gladys said his team has one goal in mind.

“We had a pretty good lead at home and ended up losing in overtime, so that has been a pretty good motivation for us,” he said.

“We lost some good players off that team but we’ve had some younger guys step up and really play well this season.”

Among those are Matthew Kennedy (nine goals, two assists) and Izaiah Vignali (six goals, four assists).

The Rockets have won eight straight, with the only loss a 1-0 decision to Green Hope.

Asheville, with a 67-7 edge in goals scored and allowed, boasts the top four scorers in the conference, led by sophomore Justin Fleer (12 goals, six assists) and senior Izzy Garcia-Perez (11 goals, seven assists).

The Cougars have eight shutouts outs and Reynolds is the only team to score more than one goal against them. Sophomores Max Butterworth and Grayson Hackett have been splitting time in goal and both have been stingy.

“We’re disappointed about how we played at Reynolds,” said Flowe. “And now we have another chance at them at our place, and hopefully we will have a chance to win this conference.”

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