Rubio, Mora lead Rams to victory over North Lenoir

Rubio, Mora lead Rams to victory over North Lenoir

Revenge was on the mind of the Greene Central Rams and they certainly delivered.

Big performances from Ulises Mora, Ariel Nunez and Alan Rubio led the Rams to a 4-2 home win over the Hawks on Wednesday. With this win, Greene Central (13-2, 6-1 ECC) controls their own destiny for the Eastern Carolina 2A conference championship.

It’s been a big week for the Rams after winning 5-3 at Washington on Monday.

“We just worked hard and played hard,” Mora said about his teams victory. “I think we controlled the game from the opening kickoff and we had a lot of opportunities to score.”

Meanwhile, the Hawks (8-5-1, 5-2) need some help from other results around the conference to stay alive. Chris Evans’ squad took a defensive approach early in the match and fell behind early. 

“Our passing wasn’t there,” Evans said. They made some good runs to take the early lead. That’s a really good soccer team and we’ll come back and regroup for the next game. I think we responded well and played hard in the second half, but we couldn’t capitalize on our chances.”

Mora set the tone early with a long range shot that forced Hawks goalkeeper Orlando Gallardo into an early save. The Rams mounted a lot of pressure in the first half and it was rewarded with an Alan Rubio goal.

The junior forward scored off a corner kick by Felipe Hinojosa 11 minutes into the game. Mora assisted freshman Ariel Nunez for the second goal of the game midway through the first half and Greene Central led 2-0 at halftime.

North Lenoir responded when Luis Henriquez scored off a free kick sent into the box by Jose Sanchez. The Hawks had the momentum until a big answer came in the form of Mora. His goal gave the Rams some breathing room and then Rubio’s second goal of the game made it 4-1 with 23 minutes left.

While he didn’t score a goal in this game, freshman Ariel Nunez has been a budding star for this Rams team. He picked up an assist on Rubio’s second goal and played some excellent passes throughout the contest.

“(North Lenoir) is one of our biggest rivals, so we had to be prepared,” he said. “That motivated us to come out and play our best game and our intensity was really good.”

Hawks leading scorer Taiwan Hines scored a goal late, but it was not enough for North Lenoir to pull off the comeback. Matt Gnau’s team got the results they needed over the last week to give themselves a chance to win a conference championship.

“We’ve started slow in previous games,” Gnau said. “I think we possessed well and took quality shots most of the night. Their goalkeeper did a great job to keep us off the board, but we kept fighting. Now, we just have to take care of business going forward.”

Greene Central and North Lenoir are back in action Monday. The Rams host Pikeville C.B. Aycock while the Hawks travel to face Washington in another pivotal conference matchup.

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