RICHMOND — Last year, Soren Scott watched in disbelief as North Cross scored in the final minute to beat the Covenant boys soccer team 1-0 in overtime in the VISAA Division II state semifinals at City Stadium.
On Thursday, the senior midfielder made sure his teammates didn’t experience that feeling again.
Scott scored the golden goal in the 89th minute to give the Eagles a 1-0 win and send them into the state championship game for the first time since 2013.
“It feels unreal, I can’t even explain it,” Scott said moments after scoring the game-winner.
The game was nip-and-tuck during the 80 minutes of regulation, with both teams generating scoring chances but unable to find the back of the net.
David Blum had three shots on goal in the first half for Trinity Christian (15-7-1), including a beautiful chip shot from 16 yards out, but all of them sailed over the crossbar.
Guilio Degiorgis had a pair of scoring chances off corner kicks in the first 40 minutes, including a shot at the end of the half that just sailed wide, as the teams went into halftime tied 0-0.
Covenant (18-1-2), the No. 2 seed in the tournament, nearly had the breakthrough chance in the 59th minute following a good passing sequence from Scott and Josiah McCaskill. Scott delivered a nice through ball to McCaskill inside the box, but the senior’s shot sailed wide left.
The Gryphons, the No. 7 seed, also had a chance to end it in regulation off a free kick when Blum ripped a shot on goal that Eagles goalkeeper Will Maupin got a hand on and tried to punch away. Micah Mitchell pounced on the loose ball and tried to chip a shot inside the near post, but Maupin was there to stymie the rebound attempt to keep the game scoreless.
In overtime, Covenant had two opportunities in the first five-minute overtime session, but shots from McCaskill and Scott sailed just over the crossbar.
With time winding down in regulation, Scott admitted that last year’s overtime loss crept into the back of his head.
“Last year, we didn’t have a very good feeling going into the game,” Scott said. “This year, we had a good feeling going in. Obviously, going into overtime just like last year was a little nerve-racking, but we got it done.”
With less than a minute to play before the game went to penalty kicks, Covenant had a free kick opportunity near midfield and tried to catch lighting in a bottle. Darius Tyler gained possession near the top of the goal box and then threaded a pass to Scott as he was making a run on goal.
“I saw Darius [Tyler] got the ball and I made a run,” Scott said. “I just hit it in with my left foot. Not much more to say than that.”
With a defender on his back, Scott ripped a shot inside the right post for a goal and the celebration ensued. The entire Covenant team met Scott near the corner flag to celebrate the win.
Scott said Thursday’s goal is one he won’t soon forget.
“Just because it’s the semis, that’s my No. 1 goal,” Scott said. “It feels unreal. I can’t even explain it.”
Maupin finished with six saves to preserve the team’s ninth straight clean sheet. The victory extended Covenant’s winning streak to 13 straight games and tied the program mark for most wins in a season.
“Tonight feels unbelievable,” Maupin said. “It was really close, I wasn’t expecting it to be that close, but Trinity School put up a great fight. It’s unbelievable, but now we’re on to the next one.”
The Eagles won’t have too much time to celebrate the win. They will face either top-seeded Steward School or fifth-seeded Seton School in Friday’s state championship game in Richmond. Game time is 5:30 p.m. at City Stadium.
Scott and his teammates are excited about the opportunity to play for the school’s second state soccer title.
“It’s incredible,” Scott said. “We’ve been to the semis three years in a row, but we’ve never made it to the finals.”
“It’s really exciting,” he said. “It’s pretty much what I dreamed for my whole high school career.”