Playing the same day as its graduation ceremony, Beech shut out Sycamore 2-0 in a Class AA sectional final to end the season for the War Eagles one game short of its first state tournament appearance.
The Buccaneers scored the game’s first goal seven minutes into the second half. Six minutes later, a Sycamore player knocked the ball into his own goal.
“I hate that for any kid on any team,” Beech coach John Ferguson said of the own goal. “That is a gross feeling because it really was a good hustle play on his part.
The War Eagles won their first District 12-AA championship since 2005, recorded 13 wins and played in their first sub-state game ever. Sycamore’s 10 seniors compiled a 47-21-10 record.
“This is the best group of seniors that have ever gone through this soccer program,” Sycamore coach Taylor McCullough said. “They have left the program in much better shape than what they found it and that what they were here to do. They made it this far by hard work and pure determination. It was their perseverance that got them this far and they just wanted it every day, every game. We felt like we deserved it tonight but unfortunately it wasn’t on our side.”
Fairview 2, Sycamore 1
Landon Gleaves scored the lone goal for Sycamore in a loss to Fairview in the Region 6-AA championship.
“We had our chances,” Sycamore coach Taylor McCullough said. “We had a couple free kicks drop in where we wanted, just couldn’t put it in. Travis Baldwin had a header opportunity that didn’t go in; we had four opportunities that should have been goals. When you play a team of that quality you can’t leave those chances out there on the field, so they won.”
Sycamore 2, Central Magnet 1
Ethan Ivy scored the go-ahead goal with a little under eight minutes remaining in the game to give Sycamore a victory over Central Magnet in the regional semifinals.
Juan Rodriguez scored on a header with an assist from Evan Wayman to tie the game in the second half.
Wayman sent a pass into the goal area and Rodriguez poked his head between among a group of players from both teams to send the ball into the net. The Sycamore crowd woke up at that point and made some noise, but it was nothing like what was coming next.
Both teams had a few scoring opportunities but it was an offensive error from Central Magnet that allowed Ivy to take possession of the ball behind the Tigers defense. Only one defenseman and the keeper stood between Ivy and the goal.
Ivy brought the ball up the field in a frantic pace. As he got closer to the goal, he sent the shot toward the corner and it went in.
“Everything slows down and in your head you’re just like, ‘OK, don’t mess up,’ ” Ivy said. “I looked up and saw the goalie out of the goal so I was thinking just pick a corner, just pick a corner. I knew it was in about halfway to the goalie. It’s crazy, I have no words for it, and it’s just an amazing feeling.”