Junior Nogueda had no clue what was coming in the opening moments of his first-ever start for the Chestatee boys soccer team Tuesday.
Nogueda scored twice in the opening six minutes, both on assists from Cristian Felix, lifting Class AAAA’s third-ranked War Eagles to their eighth straight win with a 3-0 shutout over Lumpkin County.
“They were good passes,” Nogueda said. “I had a lot of pressure. The defense was really fast, so I didn’t really expect those goals.”
The Chestatee (9-1, 5-0 Region 8-AAAA) junior scored his first goal three minutes into a contest, ripping a hard shot from just outside the box on a feed from Felix.
Three minutes later he was on the score sheet again, this time taking a Felix pass and firing a quick-rolling ball past Lumpkin County (3-4-3, 1-3) goalkeeper Noah Cromer.
“He’s been training hard,” Felix said. “There was no doubt he could score two goals.”
Felix added one of his own in the 62nd minute to secure the win, keeping Chestatee’s win streak alive while staying unbeaten in region play.
Attacking in open space, he drew Cromer out of the crease, then tapped the ball past him for the score.
“I just chose the angles,” Felix said. “He was leading me to one, so I led to where he wasn’t. He wasn’t expecting it.”
Despite replacing last season’s Region 8-AAAA championship team with a younger, less experienced squad, the War Eagles might be the area’s hottest team right now. They haven’t lost a game since Feb. 20, using a stout defense to contain opponents to just three goals during the win streak.
“They work hard, and fortunately it’s been paying off,” Chestatee coach Mike Herrin said. “We’ve been tested and we’ve played some really good teams. We’re just finding a way.”
The battle for Region 8-AAAA supremacy appears to be headed in a similar direction to last year, with the War Eagles needed a 1-0 win over Johnson via penalty kicks to claim the title.
The Knights are currently unbeaten and ranked second in Class AAAA, and next Friday’s clash between the Hall County rivals will certainly help to paint the playoff picture in the region. It could also determine which team is better prepared for a state championship bid.
But Herrin isn’t quite at that stage just yet.
“I’m looking forward to the game, but I’m not looking forward to it as if it’s going to be the region championship,” Herrin said. “We have to play one game at a time. The only thing we were worried about tonight was Lumpkin County.”
Chestatee looks to continue its streak at home against Lanier on Friday. Lumpkin County hosts Walnut Grove the same night.
LUMPKIN COUNTY GIRLS 1, CHESTATEE 0: Alexis Satterfield connected on a header with 4:10 remaining to lift the Lady Indians and snap the Lady War Eagles’ six-game winning streak.
Satterfield redirected a corner kick from Destiny Balkiz, flipping the ball just out reach of Chestatee goalkeeper Misandy Chavez.
“I think we had good pressure for most of the game — it was just a matter of us cracking loose and getting one,”
Lumpkin County coach Don Brock said. “It took us making a few adjustments and shifting a few people around until we could get loose and keep it down on their end.
“I felt like it was going to happen eventually.”
The long-awaited goal for the Lady Indians (6-2-2, 3-1 Region 8-AAAA) came after a contest that featured plenty of scoring chances but no goals until Satterfield’s header.
The loss is the first for Chestatee (7-3, 4-1) since Feb. 21. Lumpkin County has won four of its last five.
“This is a big win for us,” Brock said. “We felt that for the past two years, we should’ve been able to pull off the win against Chestatee. There’s a chip on these returning girls’ shoulders, because they felt like they were the better squad the last few years and just for some reason or another, weren’t able to pull it out.”
The Lady War Eagles experienced several near misses throughout the game. They watched pair of breakaway scoring attempts in the first half end up in Lumpkin County saves, then saw a Megan Dew shot ring off the post in the 45th minute.
Dew broke open for another opportunity a minute later, only to have her shot fly just right of the net.