Spartans, Vikings play to 2-2 draw

Aug. 27, 2014 @ 11:26 PM

No matter which shade of blue he’s representing, Lorenzo Ortiz wants to beat Northern Vance.

Kerr-Vance Academy’s Southern Vance transfer will have to wait until October for another shot at Northern after a spirited 2-2 draw Monday at Viking Stadium.

“Even since when I was at Southern Vance, I always wanted to beat Northern Vance,” said Ortiz, the Spartans’ senior forward. “No matter where I’m at in Henderson, it’s a rivalry. Everyone wants to win and have the bragging rights of the town.

“It’s intense. Everybody at school talks about it. Everybody wants a ‘W.’ Nobody wants to lose a game like this.”

KVA and Northern each have a win and draw on the season and each side had 14 shots on Tuesday.

Robert Depo scored the equalizer for the Vikings in the 70th minute when the senior found the ball at his feet inside the 18-yard box, an open net ahead.

Northern’s Irving Cheluca redirected a Jonathan Byrom free kick, straight on from about 40 yards out, in Depo’s direction.

Byrom said he was aiming to put KVA goalkeeper Jordan Smith in a difficult position with the kick.

“It was a tough ball to control and I knew had Irving and Depo to crash the goal,” said Byrom.

Cheluca, who put Northern ahead in the first half, went airborne with Smith for the ball on the left side of the penalty area before it fell to Depo.

“It’s instinctive to just tap the ball and put it in the net,” said Depo, a senior.

Smith finished with eight saves and Northern goalkeeper Thomas Knight came away with four stops.

Northern opened the scoring with Cheluca’s goal, assisted by Byrom and set up by charging central midfielder Joseph Sharpe.

“He’s pretty strong,” Northern head coach Razvan Tegean said of Sharpe. “He’s a great athlete and he was definitely a huge player to help us control the midfield.”

The Vikings controlled much of the first half, limiting the Spartans’ opportunities before the visitors leveled in the 54th minute on Jordan Hogge’s goal.

KVA’s Juan Lopez started the buildup near the halfway line before sending a ball forward for Ortiz, who played a ball for Joseph Burnette inside the 18. Burnette then slotted it right for Hogge, who buried the finish far post.

KVA head coach Devon Honeywell said it took his side 40 minutes to adjust.

“I think Northern came out and played a good first half,” he said. “They have some strong players that can take long kicks and long throws. They use that to their advantage.”

Ortiz put the Spartans ahead on a penalty kick less than two minutes after Hogge’s goal.

The draw, against a KVA squad with high expectations, was the kind of result Tegean wants to see consistently from Northern.

“It’s a great game,” said Tegean. “Many of them are friends, played together, traveled for a long period of time. For most of them, being one of the last games they play against each other, they wanted to prove themselves. But if I can get the boys to that point where we can play with that hard effort and passion every game, it will be awesome.”

Northern is scheduled to visit KVA Oct. 9.

The Vikings return to action Saturday, Sept. 6 against East Surry in a Cary showcase event.

KVA hosted Wayne Country Day on Tuesday.

“We’re going to get better,” said Honeywell.

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.