A New First For First

First Colonial grabbed its first-ever Eastern Region male soccer title Saturday, defeating Grassfield 2-0 at Old Dominion University. Photo by Jason Norman

Remember that old adage about seven being a lucky number? On Saturday (the seventh day of the week!), First Colonial proved it accurate.

In the form of Brian Davidson, that was. The Beach District player of the year, who wears number seven, knocked in his seventh goal of the postseason (and seventeenth of the year), as the Patriots knocked off Grassfield 2-0 for the Eastern Region title at Old Dominion University, the first Regional male soccer title in school history.

"It's indescribable," said Davidson, a future University of Virginia enrollee and one of five Patriots on the farewell tour. "You set the goals at the beginning of the year, and it's incredible to have them come true. We were nervous, but excited to become the first team ever, and there have been some good players who have come through here."

Both squads' respective defenses drove the other offenses crazy through the first half, and the first 10 minutes of the second were more of the same. But with just under 28 minutes to go, Colonial's Brooks Nopper corralled a pass near the right corner of the field, and sent it to the center. The ball was deflected out through the penalty box, but before it could get away, Davidson charged forward and sent a turf-burner just past Grassfield keeper Nick Evans.

About 15 minutes later, the Patriots appeared to be ready to add to their lead, as Tyler McArdle lined up for a penalty kick. But Evans was one step ahead, deflecting it off to the left and keeping the lead at 1-0.

McArdle would be back. At the 10-minute mark, Nopper sent a pass down the right sideline to Zach Henning, who smashed a shot toward the center of the goal. Evans deflected this one too, but it went straight to McArdle, who hammered it into the net.

"That was the first one I'd missed in a long, long time," McArdle said of the penalty kick. "I wanted to make up for that missed kick and send my team to the state championships. We looked really solid back there. I felt comfortable with our defense behind them."

Colonial stays home Tuesday to take on the Northwest region runner-up, while the Grizzlies head to Charlottesville to battle the titlists.

"We didn't want to ride the bus for four hours up to Charlottesville next week," said Colonial coach Kevin Denson. "Playing on your home field, in front of your home fans, getting to take a nap in the afternoon before the game, all of that is really important to these guys."