DUDLEY - East Wake’s early defensive pressure from the opening kickoff caught Southern Wayne a little bit by surprise Monday evening.
Once the Saints adjusted, they easily rolled to another win.
Seven players got into the scoring act as Southern Wayne opened its inaugural Quad County 3A Conference season with a 4-0 conquest of East Wake on the Doyle Whitfield Athletic Complex pitch.
The Saints (5-0-0 overall) filed their first clean sheet against a league opponent since Sept. 6, 2018 - a stretch of 22 outings.
“They pressured us pretty well and were trying to tire us out, but they were getting tired in the process, so we played a lot of long balls and made it happen,” SW head coach Luis Ramirez said.
The strategy stretched the Warriors’ defense that had intercepted passes and gained possession on second balls after the Saints earned the first touch.
After a even-played 20-plus minutes, SW finally struck.
Edgar Castaneda picked up a loose ball and crossed it to Miguel Campuzano, who was unmarked just outside the 18-yard box. East Wake’s keeper came off his line and Campuzano ripped a right-footed shot toward the back post.
“It motivated us and motivated them to press us up even more,” Ramirez said.
Slysen Jean Baptiste notched the Saints’ second goal in the 29th minute. Teammate Diego Vera-Arriaga, a freshman, connected on a one-touch pass from Damas Jean to make it 3-0 inside 10 minutes to go before halftime.
East Wake (1-5-0, 0-1-0 QCC) attempted six shots, including four on frame, against a revamped SW backline. Returning starter Drew Bryan watched from the bench on crutches as his teammates worked to keep the Warriors off the board.
Ramirez opted to keep fresh legs in the Saints’ final defensive third and subbed frequently. Goalie Joey Segura stopped four Warrior shots and finished with nine saves on the night.
Southern Wayne’s final goal came off a set piece. Wilfredo Aldana converted a corner kick from Gavin Simons in the 46th minute. Simons logged his fifth assist of the season.
“They played physical and we did a good job managing that,” said Ramirez, whose team attempted 17 shots and had 10 set pieces during the game. “This game demands a lot of strength from all of our guys.”
Southern Wayne entertains West Johnston (3-2-2) on Wednesday. Kickoff is 6 p.m.