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East Hall boys soccer keeps hold on first place in region with 3-0 win against North Hall
Sergio Turcios' two late goals helped Vikings put away region rivals
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North Hall's Jairo Barrientos (18) and East Hall's Maury Ibarra (7) chase after the ball during Friday night's game between North Hall and East Hall at The Brickyard. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Sergio Turcios missed six shots through the first 62 minutes of Friday night’s game before his first one went in.

The second score followed soon after.

Turcios netted two late goals to lift the East Hall boys soccer team to a 3-0 win against North Hall in a Region 7-AAA contest at the Brickyard. He took 10 total shots and put three on goal, accounting for nearly half his team’s production in each category.

“I tried to put the balls in the net, but sometimes they just don’t go in,” Turcios said with a grin. “I just kept shooting until they did.”

His late burst helped the No. 3 Vikings (11-3, 4-0 region) take sole possession of first place in the region standings. They have a slight edge on Dawson County, which is also undefeated in region play but has played one fewer game.

More importantly, East Hall has clinched at least a top-three finish in the region, coach Chris Horton said.

“We always talk about our region games being the games that we want to show up for,” Horton said. “We need to get the win in these kind of games, it doesn’t matter if it’s pretty or ugly. We have a tough road, so hopefully we’ll be prepared for wherever we finish going into the state tournament.”

The Trojans (6-6, 2-3) sit in fourth place in the region behind Greater Atlanta Christian, holding a tiebreaker over Fannin County by virtue of their 5-2 win March 7.

East Hall dominated play for virtually the entire first half and turned that into ample scoring opportunities with 12 shots and five corner kicks. North Hall, meanwhile, managed only one shot in the opening half and had little possession beyond counterattacks.

The Vikings broke through in the 26th minute when Brandon Callahan’s header off Maury Ibarra’s corner kick skirted inside the right post.

“I think in the beginning, we probably missed a few chances,” Horton said. “But (North Hall) did a good job of bunkering down their defense and playing a defensive game to limit our scoring.”

The Trojans did a better job of controlling possession after halftime, which resulted in two solid chances off set pieces. In the 51st minute, Garrett Jones broke free of the scrum during a free kick for a header, only for the ball to miss wide left.

Three minutes later, Jairo Barrientos placed a pristine throw-in just outside the 6-yard box. But Joel Barrientos’ header sailed just over the crossbar, and East Hall reclaimed control from there.

Turcios put the Vikings ahead 2-0 in the 62nd minute thanks to a beautiful ball played in the 18-yard box. He raced past defenders and veered left on only two touches before firing the ball back into the right-hand corner of the net.

“We always practice that: I run in and they put the ball through for me because I’m fast,” Turcios said. “I’m going to get the ball and just do my thing.”

Turcios put the finishing touches on East Hall’s win in the 77th minute, faking out a defender from the left wing and striking a ball that found the same right-hand pocket that received his first score.

NORTH HALL GIRLS 6, EAST HALL 1: Lauren Tymchuk had two goals and an assist to lead the Lady Trojans to a Region 7-AAA win Friday night.

North Hall (6-4-2, 3-2 region) also received goals from Bekah Stephens, April Lotheridge, Leah Smith and Maddie Cook. Stephens, Cook and Rosemary Schofield each provided an assist for the Lady Trojans, who surpassed Dawson County for third place in the region standings.

Samantha Camacho scored a goal for the Lady Vikings (2-11-1, 0-3).

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