The second goal of the night by Aaron Diaz proved to be the difference for the Winder-Barrow High School boys’ soccer team in its 2020 GHSA Region 8-AAAAAA opener.

WBHS took a 3-2 overtime win against visiting Dacula High School on Friday, Feb. 28, at W. Clair Harris Stadium as the Bulldoggs continued their strong start to the season.

Diaz, who also scored the team’s first goal of the night, connected on his second score from approximately 45 yards out in the second overtime period. Dacula’s keeper was caught out of position and Diaz, a junior, made the Falcons pay.

Diaz tied the match at 1-1 with his first goal of the night. The teams ended regulation tied with one goal each.

The Bulldoggs drew first blood in overtime but Dacula was able to even the score hallway through the second overtime. Diaz then delivered what turned out to be the game-winner.

“It was a good win because Dacula is a strong team,” said WBHS coach Levi Karras. “We just can’t get too excited about it because this is a very tough region.”

LADY DOGGS FALL TO DACULA

The WBHS Lady Bulldoggs were also involved in a close region opener against Dacula, falling 1-0.

The match was a defensive struggle with the visiting Lady Falcons netting the lone goal with approximately eight minutes left.

“We didn’t convert our chances that we created,” Winder-Barrow coach Christian Vasquez said. “The girls still played great and I think we will just continue to get better.”

Vasquez said Vanessa Vazquez earned her first start at defensive midfield and “did really well.”

“We played great defense as a team,” the coach said.

The WBHS soccer teams hosted Lanier on Tuesday, March 3, with both teams losing 3-2. The matches were originally scheduled to be played at Lanier but were moved due to field conditions from rain. The Bulldoggs (5-3, 1-1 region) and Lady Bulldoggs (3-4-1, 0-2) will continue region play Friday, March 6, hosting Habersham Central.

AHS boys knock off Gainesville, Dacula

In other local action, the Apalachee boys knocked off Gainesville 1-0 at home in their region opener, snapping a long losing streak against the Red Elephants, a perennial state power. The Wildcats followed up that performance with a 5-1 win Tuesday at Dacula, improving to 5-4-1 overall and 2-0 in region play

Meanwhile, the Lady Wildcats fell 4-0 to Gainesville before bouncing back with a 3-1 win at Dacula on Tuesday.

After a red card 15 minutes into the match against Gainesville, Apalachee (4-3-1, 1-1) was forced to play with only 10 players. Jules Rivera, Anna Ruiz, Ashley Acosta and Amayia Lukie all scored goals for the Lady Red Elephants.

Caitlyn Evans opened the scoring against Dacula late in the first half on a ball from Meg Folsom to the corner. Evans dribbled toward goal from the right side and hit a rocket to beat the keeper near the post.

In the second half, Emily Hale finished on a long throw from Taylor Salvaggio, and a few minutes later, Hale beat the last defender and a charging keeper on a ball from Carsun Neubauer and passed it into the corner.

The Lady Wildcats gave up a penalty kick late in the second half, but Sarah Currey made the save, as well as a kick save on a follow-up shot.

Dacula scored with 8 minutes left. Apalachee coach Paul Thornton said the Lady Wildcats got strong play at center back from Taylor Salvaggio, who was filling in for Macky Clark.

Apalachee's teams will host Lanier on Friday, March 6. The girls will kick off at 5:30 p.m., followed by the boys at 7:30 p.m.

Scott Thompson contributed to this story.

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