Mikey Farmer kept his promise.
After a scoreless first half between Cox and Menchville in boys soccer, Farmer felt his Falcons should be winning.
“I was frustrated the whole first half,” said Farmer, a senior forward. “I had like three chances I could have scored, so I promised to the coaches and my teammates that I was going to score.”
With 20 minutes left in regulation, Josh Haggerty dropped a ball behind the defense for the waiting Farmer.
“I was calm, waited for the defender to stab and I took my time and hit it around the goalie,” Farmer said.
Cox (13-4-1) held on to beat Menchville 1-0 in the Class 5 state quarterfinals Tuesday at Menchville.
“I’m pretty excited,” senior goalkeeper Nolan Isenhour said. “It’s the first time [the senior class] is going to the state semifinals.”
Isenhour constantly foiled Menchville’s trademark long throw-ins by pushing through the horde to punch away the ball. The strategy came after film study of Menchville’s propensity for set-piece success.
“We spent probably an hour on Saturday just training defending long throw-in restarts, defending long restarts from midfield, defending corner kicks,” Cox coach Eric Blackmore said. “We told Nolan that if you’re gonna make a mistake, you’re gonna do it because you’re too aggressive ... not because you waited.”
Menchville (14-2-1) hadn’t lost since March while Cox was coming off a region final loss to Hickory in the final minute.
“That really motivated us,” Farmer said. “I was telling people yesterday in practice and that pumped us up. We had one of the most intense practices yesterday.”
Cox lost in the region final last year, but because of the COVID-shortened season, only the region champion advanced.
“The theme the last week, even before the region tournament, was get back what you deserve last year,” Blackmore said. “Then losing to Hickory the way we did just added on to that, didn’t it? I told the guys you need to be angry. You need to make sure you’re resilient now.”
And satisfied at least for the hour-long drive back to Virginia Beach.
“It’s good, but we’re not done yet,” Isenhour said. “We’ll celebrate on the bus home, but then right when we get off, it’s time to get back to work tomorrow.”
Ray Nimmo, firstname.lastname@example.org