JT's PKs Make The Difference

Jamestown grabbed its third straight Region II Group AA title Friday night, edging Courtland 5-4 in penalty kicks. Photo by Jason Norman

Two long regulation periods. Four short overtimes. Just about three hours of warp-speed soccer action.
But in the end, it came down to a block and a kick.

Throughout Friday night's war for the Region I Group AA soccer title Friday night at James City County Stadium, both Jamestown and visiting Courtland had quite a few scoring shots, literally and figuratively. Bay Rivers champ Jamestown's first came near the end of the first half, as Patrick O'Brien roared between two defenders and blasted a bullet toward the top of the Courtland goal. But Joel Johnson, showing the skills that made him the Battlefield District's top keeper from last season, lunged across the goal and managed to tip the shot over the crossbar.

About four minutes into the second half, Courtland's Kyle Moore knocked a corner kick toward the center, and a header from Brad Moore appeared to send it into the JT net. But at the last second, Marlon Santos appeared to magically transport across the field to the JT goal line, deflecting it straight out of the goal and back into action.
Moore bounced a shot off the JT goalpost. Johnson was forced to tip a Patrick O'Brien headed over the goal. JT keeper Alex Guerra knocked a Blake Tomaso shot out of bounds in the closing moments of regulation.

The team struggled through a pair of five-minute overtimes, then two more sudden-death periods. It was all down to penalty kicks.

Bryan Musante slipped one past Guerra, and J.T. Smith fooled Johnson. Brad scored for Courtland, and O'Brien for Jamestown. David Salazar edged a shot just inside the left Eagle goalpost, and Patrick Kelly grounded one into the same area.

After Santos and Dan Geyer scored, things were knotted at 4-4. Guerra, facing penalty kicks for the first time this season, stepped out to face Dominic Scott.

Scott smacked his shot, and Guerra hurled himself toward the upper left corner of the net. The goalie had guessed right, and the ball ricocheted back onto the field.

"I had to let (first few goals) go and not let it get to me," Guerra said. "I tried to read where he was going to kick it, and I made the right choice."

But things weren't done, and Ryan Treacy headed to the line for the last kick.

His shot went forward, and Johnson leaped to the left. But Treacy had aimed for the right, and the ball went in as Treacy was mobbed by his teammates. Jamestown had notched its third straight regional title, and taken its next step toward the state title it last snared in 2008.

"My adrenalin was rushing," Treacy said. "I got a little bit scared, but I saw the way the keeper was diving, and from the way it came off my foot, I knew it was going in. We had such a hard game, and I was so tired, but when you finish like that, it's amazing."

The Eagles host the loser of Region II's title game between Potomac Falls and Broad Run (Run knocked Jamestown out of the state quarterfinals last season) on Tuesday.

"We've done PKs a lot (in practice) lately, and we were looking for a situation when we might have to use them," said Jamestown coach Bobby O'Brien. "We got ready for having to play 100 minutes, instead of 80 like we're supposed to. I hate penalty kicks. I don't know how they put the kids through it. It's a tough way to lose, but it's a great way to win."

Courtland visits the Region II winner Tuesday.

"There's no difficulty at all about bouncing back," said Cougar coach J.T. Nino. "We played a great game, Jamestown played a great game. PKs is unfortunately the way you have to decide a winner. I'm happy with the way we played, and we have to forget about it and get ready for Tuesday."

Earlier in the day in Fredericksburg, Jamestown's girls gave their school a regional sweep, riding Lauren Gough's hat trick to a 4-1 comeback win over Chancellor.

Cox followed suit over in Group AAA competition in Norfolk at Old Dominion University, as the Falcon women slipped past Ocean Lakes 2-0, while the men ran away from Great Bridge 7-0. Cox's guys will go for a repeat state title next week, while the women go for their first.