Falcons Win In OT To Advance To VCC Semis
FARMVILLE – It didn't come easy for the Fuqua School soccer team, but the Falcons managed to advance to the Virginia Commonwealth Conference semifinals with a 2-1 overtime victory over Southampton Academy on Monday afternoon.
The Falcons, who missed out on a second place finish and a first round bye in the tournament, moved into the semifinal round, and will play Kenston Forest on Wednesday afternoon at tournament host Isle of Wight Academy.
“It's not about being pretty at this point,” said FS head coach Alex Sprirn. “It's win or go home. I told them before the game that one team would get to play again and the other would have to turn in their uniforms. They didn't want to turn in their uniforms.”
Fuqua senior Pietro Gregori scored the eventual game-winner one minute into the second overtime on a shot from the right side. The Falcons then kept Southampton from having any serious shots on goal for the remainder of the match. The only really serious threat came on a long penalty kick from about 35 yards out that was easily corralled by goalie John Patterson.
“That was a well-fought game between two of the younger teams in the conference,” said Sprin. “Jimmy Weist does a good job with them, and you could see that both teams had a mutual respect for one-another. They are going to be contenders for the championship going forward.”
Fuqua fell behind 1-0 early on, but the Falcons managed to tie the match in the 35th minute on an own goal that was credited to Jake Jackson.
Fuqua struggled somewhat against the a speedy Southampton attack, but was able to control possession as the match wore on. Still, the Falcons were unable to take advantage of some scoring opportunities toward the end of regulation that would've likely kept the game within its original 80-minute time frame.
“We had a major focus on defense today, and we played well,” said Sprin. “Offensively, it looked like we were hesitant on pulling the trigger. Sometimes, I think we're playing for the perfect shot, and more often than not, the perfect shot is not going to happen. Sometimes, you have to take the shot, even if it doesn't look like things are setting up 100 percent right.”
Still, while the execution was a little off, the effort was there, according to Spirn.
“Though we beat them last week at Southampton, they beat us up here, so our guys felt they still had something to prove. After losing to Isle of Wight last week, which cost us a bye, we reacted the right way, and played well enough to beat a good team.”
The winner of Wednesday's match will advance to the VCC Tournament Championship match, which will be played on Friday at Isle of Wight Academy. Fuqua advanced to the VCC Title game in 2011, before losing to champ Kenston Forest.
The Virginia Independent Schools Soccer Association does not conduct a spring sports state tournament. Friday's championship match will be the last for the semifinal winners, win or lose.
“We're playing well, at the moment, and I believe we can give ourselves in a chance to win the next two games, but it's going to be tough from here on out.”