Fairview – A.C. Reynolds soccer is powered by “Green energy” — two-time reigning all-state goalkeeper Sean Green.
Green and the Rockets shut out another area power, Hendersonville, and its all-state forward, Cooper King, by 3-0 at home on Aug. 24.
In a dynamic confrontation in front of the ACR goal, Sean hustled and slid to kick the ball away from King. ACR got possession and headed upfield. King led WNC players with 39 goals last fall.
Green relishes facing King, his travel club teammate and another senior, and was pleased to keep him off the score sheet this time. HHS’s King scored a goal when HHS came from behind at home to tie ACR early in last season. Coach Gladys said, “We let that one get away.” Green, among others, felt gratified to beat HHS this time.
Gladys called it a “great challenge” to face King and HHS. Hendersonville was 18-2-1 last year, including a perfect 12-0 to win the inaugural Mountain Foothills crown.
ACR has a “G Force” combo of Gladys and Green, his coach on the field and “our vocal leader.” Green is a field commander, even more so than most goalkeepers. He keeps his intensity under control. Green instructs teammates as he sees action develop. “I guide them. I teach them, “the fourth-year varsity star said of his role.
When play is deep in the opposing zone, the athletic Green ventures as far as his 40-yard line. He grew to be taller than 6-foot-3 and bulked up on leg strength. He boots strongly, and passes Green matured by playing against seasoned adults in recent months while on the semi-pro Asheville City Soccer Club, Coach Gladys noted.
ACR’s vaunted football team, which Green helps kick for ACR, is the perfect school ambassador. The colors are green and gold. “The Big Green Machine” is inscribed on R.L. Dalton Stadium’s press box.
Facing HHS in soccer is a superb tune-up for MAC soccer clashes. Coach Gladys praised how his squad got the most contested “50-50 balls” and was aggressively physical within the rules.
Melissa Villars-Nitsche is debuting as the successor to retired HHS head coach Stuart Scott. She told her Bearcats at halftime that they needed to foil the frequent triple teaming of King. One way is getting close to passing.
ACR Goal Scorers
Hudson McGuire scored the first goal with 15:27 to go in the first half. Nelson Orrelano drove to the left of the goal. He tapped in a short pass for McGuire, just in front of the goal. McGuire hustled to barely beat goalkeeper Noah Pavao to the ball as they collided. McGuire kicked the ball with his left foot over a diving Pavao. Pavao was kneed in their collision, sustained what turned out to be a fractured rib, did not play in the second half, and is out for a while.
Early on, McGuire was the team co-leader with two goals. The sophomore is among the rising stars. He was most impressive in this game with his defense. McGuire often beat bearcats to the ball in his zone and transitioned the team to offense with outlet passes. He called it a “strong win” to beat HHS.
Nidrea Gray made it 2-0 versus HHS merely three minutes into the second half. Fellow ACR senior Mike Bryson tossed the ball in front of the HHS net. Gray outleaped a Bearcat as he headed the ball over freshman reserve keeper Isaiah Rose.
Senior Jackson Lovoy scored on a breakaway with 29:42 remaining.
Early on, a lanky 6-6 Bearcat GK The big Cole Jordan robbed Pavao by leaping leftward to deflect the shot. ACR’s Jordan scored twice in ACR’s season-opening 3-1 win at talented East Henderson. Gladys noted Jordan is among “strong” power forwards, helping fill the void of leading scorer and ‘22 grad Cyrus Ager.
Moises Diaz, an energetic ball-controlling midfielder, is “fast and strong,” Gladys said. “Moises is the heart and soul” of the offense. The fourth-year varsity starter, also a striker, scored 13 goals last season.
MAC’s Big Three
The Mountain Athletic Conference big three are at it again. Roberson (16-4-2; 11-1), coached by Josh Martin, won the MAC regular season last fall. TCR is 3-1 now. Asheville under Mike Flowe was 13-5-2 (8-3-1 MAC), and is 4-1. Green refused to let in a goal as Reynolds (18-4-6; 10-2 MAC) won an epic 1-0 battle in four OTs at Roberson Nov. 4, to oust the Rams in round two. Enka (3-0-1), Erwin (2-0) and 2A Owen (2-1-1) are also off to good starts.
Hendersonville beat West Henderson 3-1, tied both North Henderson and Jefferson Academy 3-3, and was at East Henderson Wednesday. King scored all three versus Jefferson Monday. He netted four more goals and junior Harrison Moss two over the first two contests. Last fall, North Knights (16-4-3) won the Mountain Seven crown at 10-1-1. The Knights lost 1-0 to Asheville and 4-0 to Roberson this fall, but tied HHS and Brevard. West thrashed Polk 4-0 and Swain 5-1, but lost to HHS and by 4-1 to Enka. On Tuesday, Sept. 6, West welcomes North Buncombe (0-3) while NHHS hosts Reynolds. On September 14, East will square off against West.
The Rockets are extra determined in 2022, Diaz said. “We’re ready to go. We’re happy to get back out here,” to start the new season. “We’re working to improve every single day.”
The team has an international flavor, including Hispanics and Ukrainian native Tymofil Trautskyi. Diaz said of team chemistry, “We’re more than friends. We’re like family.”