Boys soccer blog: Here are your 2019 state champions
The GHSA soccer season ended last weekend with eight champions crowned across the state’s classifications. Here’s how things went down:
Class AAAAAAA (Lambert)
Lambert defended its state title with a 2-1 victory against Lakeside-Dekalb. The teams were scoreless at half after a stellar performance by Lambert’s senior goalkeeper Chris Smith, who had made several acrobatic saves. With nine minutes left in the match, Tyler Nediak scored on a rebounded shot from Hayden Fontana. Less than a minute later, Lakeside’s Jerod Spetseris scored to tie the game. With just more than a minute left in the match, Fontana launched a shot off the post, and sophomore Yeonsung Lee got the rebound and put in the go-ahead goal.
Class AAAAAA (Dalton)
Dalton won its fifth state championship — the first since three-peating in 2013-15 — after defeating Gainesville 4-1. The Catamounts took a 1-0 lead with 18 minutes left before intermission on a header goal by freshman Yahir Paez off a high-lofted set-up. Tony Saldana pushed the lead after he converted a corner kick on a header with 13 minutes left before the half. Eight minutes later, Saldana found the net again after going unchecked on a free kick. Manny Prieto’s goal with 25:07 left in the match pushed the lead to 4-0. Gainesville scored on a goal from Divin Mabruki with 12:34 remaining.
Class AAAAA (McIntosh)
McIntosh won its seventh state championship after moving past local rival Starr’s Mill 3-2. Starr’s Mill senior Noah Pavel put the Panthers ahead 1-0 at 15:51 in the first half. The Chiefs pulled even 16 minutes later on a score from senior defender Baba Agbaje. McIntosh took the lead into the break on a goal from Jack Gentry at a 30:06 mark. Agbaje put the Chiefs ahead 3-1 on a goal with 20:20 left in the match. Starr’s Mill pulled within a goal on a score from senior Ryan Shanahan with 13:11 left, but the Chiefs were able to keep the Panthers at bay in the final mintues. McIntosh also won the championship in 2017.
Class AAAA (Oconee County)
Oconee County solidified itself in school history by defeatiing Upson Lee 1-0 to win its first state soccer title. After 33 minutes of scoreless play, senior Owen Hallauer nearly scored the go-ahead goal, but bounced the ball off the post. The deciding goal came with 26:10 left in the first half when Hallauer followed up on a few shots on goal and scored. The Chiefs shutout performance gave Upson Lee its only loss of the season.
Class AAA (Westminster)
Westminster won its 14th boys soccer title and successfully defending its AAA crown for the third consecutive season after defeating Coahulla Creek 4-0. The Wildcats did all the scoring in the first half and then held on for the victory. Weyimi Agbeyegbe scored at 11:07 in the first half to get Westminster going. Ryan Schaufele added a goal at the 21:25 mark in first half to increase the lead. Michael Johnson added a score at 25:52 and Charlie Ham tacked on a goal just two minutes later to make it a four-goal spread. The Wildcats won titles in 1966-67, 1976, 1982-83, 2001, 2006-07, 2011-13 and the past three seasons.
Class AA (Thomasville)
Thomasville won its second soccer title after outscoring Union County 4-2 in penalty kicks. The Bulldogs captured their first title since a Class AA/A championship in 2010. In regulation, Union County took a 1-0 lead on a score from Andrew Geyer with 26:48 before the break. Thomasville responded with a goal from Brian Smith with 5:19 left in the first half, and the teams entered the break tied. After a scoreless second half, neither team could find a goal in the 15-minute overtime period, which sent the contest to penalty kicks. Thomasville connected on its first four penalty kicks, and Union County was stopped twice.
Class A-Private (Wesleyan)
Wesleyan came back from a 1-0 deficit and captured its second boys soccer title, 2-1 against Whitefield Academy, the 2017 Class A champions. Whitefield scored first on a goal from Wes Peterson off a rebound with 14:55 to play in the opening half. The Wolves responded on a long goal from Liam Coxhead six minutes left before halftime. In the second half, Wesleyan scored the game-winner on a Harrison Larner goal with 33:14 to play.
Class A-Public (Georgia Military)
After an extended lightning delay that began with 26:31 left in the game, Georgia Military won its first boys soccer title with a victory 2-1 overtime victory against Lake Oconee Academy. Lake Oconee took the lead first on a goal by John Clay Wofford with 28:55 left in the first half. Georgia Military responded with a goal by Logan Steinmeyer with 35:51 left in the game, and that’s where the score would stand at the end of regulation. In the extra time, Dylan Smith put the Bulldogs ahead 2-1 with eight minutes left in the overtime period, and Georgia Military held on for the victory.