Murray County

April 12, 2013

That’s different

Mountaineers soccer have new region and role but aim to be champs again

North Murray’s boys soccer team became the high school’s first program to claim a region title when it won the Region 7-2A tournament last season.

The Mountaineers entered this year as favorites to wear a crown again in their new league, Region 5-3A — and they appear to have had no difficulties handling the burden.

North Murray currently stands alone atop the Region 5-3A standings with an unblemished record and clear path to another championship. But players say it hasn’t all been easy, with opposing teams aware of what a win against the Mountaineers could mean.

Being the team to beat is new for North Murray, which is in its third varsity season. Mountaineers coach Matt Chambers said he thought his team, which last year lost to favorite Calhoun before beating the Yellow Jackets in the region tournament, was “expected to be runners-up” in 2012.

That’s not the case this year.

“We’re kind of used to being the underdogs,” Chambers said. “But this year is a little different because we’re the target. We definitely came in as the top team in the region.

“Ismael Cruz even said on the way home from one of our games, ‘Man, every time we go play, the teams give us the best they’ve got.’”

Last season, the Mountaineers earned the Region 7-2A championship with a shootout victory against rival Calhoun after regulation ended in a 1-1 draw. It was the first region title in any sport for the Mountaineers, and the team is well on its way to a second.

The Mountaineers are 10-0 in league play — they’re 10-2 overall with losses to Region 7-4A powers Dalton and Northwest Whitfield — but have faced quite a few challenges from opponents. Monday’s 5-3 penalty-kick win against visiting Coahulla Creek was one of three matches North Murray has won in a shootout — the other two were against Sonoraville on March 7 and 28.

North Murray’s March 19 game against Cartersville and March 26 game against Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe were both 2-1 victories. Twice the Mountaineers have won 2-0 against Ringgold and once 3-0 against Gordon Central. The two wins against Adairsville, 9-0 and 5-0, are the only blowouts for North Murray.

But the Mountaineers don’t expect to ever relax on the field.

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Murray County