By Stephen Black, Sean Conway, Alex Ewalt and Fletcher Proctor
Eight teams moved onto the boys state soccer finals Tuesday night as the semifinals played out around the state. See our recaps below for in-depth coverage of who advanced, how they advanced and what players played major roles.
Collins Hill 1, Brookwood 0: In a Class AAAAA semifinal, visiting Collins Hill defeated Gwinnett County neighbor Brookwood 1-0 to advance to Friday’s finals. The Eagles came into the game having scored 14 goals in three playoff games, while the Broncos had scored 10. But this game was a defensive struggle with the lone goal not scored until 13 minutes remained when Eagles midfielder Eli Carrasco scored from 18 yards out.
In a fast-paced game, both keepers had to make several saves. But it was Collins Hill’s Jackson Taylor who kept a clean sheet with seven saves.
Greenbrier 2, Starr’s Mill 0: Reed Norton contributed one goal and one assist as the host Wolf Pack advanced to the finals. Norton fed James Toombs 11 minutes into the contest to give Greenbrier a 1-0 lead it would take to halftime. With 11 minutes remaining, and after three yellow cards had been distributed, Scott Ball found Norton with a cross and Norton provided the clinching goal.
Lambert 2, Marist 0: Goalkeeper Michael Zambetti only needed to stop two shots all night for the host Longhorns to notch a shutout victory over Marist. Lambert took the lead in the first half on a redirected header by center back Brendan Everett with an assist from Trexler Bennett. Bennett added a goal of his own 10 minutes into the second half.
Gainesville 2, St. Pius X 1: The Golden Lions jumped out to a 1-0 first half lead, which stood until midway through the second half. But the host Red Elephants tied the game midway through the second on a header by Charlie Bryant. Douglas Mejia then scored the game-winner on an assist by Ricardo Gomez with 1:45 left in the game.
Woodward Academy 3, Carrollton 2: The host War Eagles rallied from a 2-1 halftime hole to edge Carrollton in overtime. Cameron Moseley tied the game late in the second half after a weather delay and then Moseley netted the winner in overtime for Woodward Academy. Trey Camp scored Carrollton’s first goal and Homero Perez scored on a penalty kick for the Trojans.
Blessed Trinity 2, Lovett 2 (7-6 PKs): Goalie David Guigou saved George Spencer’s penalty kick in the eighth round of PKs as the host Titans advanced to the finals. After Blessed Trinity led 2-0 at halftime on the strength of goals by Stefan Rizzo and John Collar, Lovett tied the game in the second half on penalty kicks by Colin Tucker.
Westminster 5, Greater Atlanta Christian 2: The visiting Wildcats used a pair of goals in quick succession by Harrison Butker and Paul Vicinanza to take a two-goal lead at the half. Trey Blasingame and Chandler Gray added two more goals before Greater Atlanta Christian scored their first goal. Chris Ottley scored Westminster’s final goal. Goalkeeper Andrew Freschi saved 11 shots by the Spartans.
Aquinas 2, Providence Christian 1: Marcus Wade and Justin Thompson scored in the second half to help the host Fighting Irish advance to the finals. Providence Christian opened the scoring 20 minutes into the game with a Caleb McQuaig goal assisted by Josh Platillero. It will be Aquinas’s second trip to the state finals, with the 2005 appearance also under coach Kevin Trammell.
Atlanta International School 4, Paideia 3 (5-4 PKs): Atlanta International won in penalty kicks at home, as both teams made their first four PKs but AIS capitalized on a Paideia miss to win 5-4 in sudden death. Paideia’s Alex Kirsch tied the game at 3-3 in the second overtime with less than 10 seconds to go. AIS led 1-0 at half, and Paideia tied it at 2-2 on a late regulation PK.