A quick goal in the third minute of the match was all it took for Danville High School to eliminate Somerset High School, 1-0, in the semifinals of the 12th Region Boys Soccer Tournament on Wednesday at the Plains.
With only 180 seconds ticked off the clock, Danville's Ethan Redmond passed off to Briar Sanders in the box for the early score. Sanders' lone goal stood up for the remainder of the next 77 minutes, as the Admirals put an end to the Briar Jumpers boys soccer season for the second year in a row.
"This is just a typical playoff soccer game where somebody puts a goal in early and it stands for the rest of the match," Somerset boys soccer coach Brian Blankenship stated. "Danville is the 15th ranked team in state, and we played with them with no problem. We knew we could play with them, we had a good game plan and at times we had Danville on the ropes. We had a lot of chances to put some goals in, and we had one called back."
"I am very proud of our team, because we went from a 2-6 team to grinding it out and doing what needed to be done to play quality soccer," Blankenship stated. "Now, we are playing with the number 15 team in the state in the playoffs. Our players gave everything they had, and they left it on the field tonight. I told the guys they couldn't hang their heads tonight. They played the game the right way, we didn't get chippy, and we didn't do anything dirty. It was just two really good soccer teams out there giving it their all, and I sure am going to miss these seniors."
Although the momentum changed throughout the match, the two teams were almost dead even in shots at goal, as Somerset got off 10 shots to the Ads' 9 shots.
Somerset junior Derek Arias had the Briar Jumpers' best two shot attempts in the first half. Arias just missed wide on a mid-range shot in the 34th minute, and put one to the keeper on a close-range shot in the 37th minute.
The Briar Jumpers opened up the second half with a flurry of shot attempts in the first 20 minutes of the period. Senior KJ Shand shot one to the keeper on a 25-yard free kick attempt, and junior Matt Coffey got off two attempts midway through the second half. Also in the second half, Arias looked to have scored a rebound goal at close range, but it was waved off for an offsides violation.
Somerset ended the year with a 11-9-2 record and a 47th District championship title. Meanwhile, Danville (16-4-1) advanced to the 12th Region Tournament championship game.
STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @CJSportseditor.