RICHMOND — Soren Scott has had a week that he will never forget.
On Thursday, the Covenant senior scored the game-winning goal in overtime against Trinity Christian to send the Eagles through to the state championship game.
On Friday, he helped Covenant finish a season to remember with a state championship.
Scott scored the opening goal of the game and the Eagles claimed the VISAA Division II state championship with a thrilling 3-2 win over Seton on a chilly Friday night at City Stadium.
“It’s unreal,” Scott said after a raucous celebration with fans, friends and family that made the trip down Interstate 64 to witness the Eagles make history. “I can’t even comprehend it really. Only one team gets to end like that. Only one group of seniors gets to end like that, and we are blessed for it to be us.”
It is the second boys state soccer championship in Covenant program history and 35th state title in school history. It was a much different ending from last season, when the Eagles suffered an overtime loss to North Cross in the state semifinals on this same field.
“I heard a coach say recently that bumpy roads lead to beautiful places,” Covenant coach Bryan Verbrugge said. “There’s no doubt that last year’s disappointment fueled this year’s fire.”
It also was fueled by a group of seniors that shined on the brightest stage Friday night.
All three of Covenant’s goals came from seniors. In addition to Scott, Giulio Degiorgis and Josiah McCaskill also found the back of the net for the Eagles.
“They’ve been with us for years and years,” Verbrugge said of his seniors. “Their consistency, leadership and composure on the field means the world and results are a season like the one we’ve had.”
It started in the 32nd minute, when Scott fired a shot from around the edge of the box. The Seton keeper was able to get his gloves on the shot, but the ball bounced off his hands, then went over his head and into the goal to give the Eagles a lead they would not relinquish.
“It looked like it was just high enough that he got a tip on it but he couldn’t get it,” Scott said.
Covenant had several chances to double its lead late in the first half but could not find the back of the net and took a 1-0 lead into halftime. The Eagles took command early in the second half with a pair of quick goals.
Degiorgis scored in traffic in the 43rd minute to make it 2-0.
“[Josiah McCaskill] had a nice header, but it went off the post. I was a little bit shocked it didn’t go in,” Degiorgis said of the play. “It was still in play, so I just tried to make a play on it and hit it left-footed and hit it away from the keeper.”
Five minutes later, McCaskill added what turned out to be a critical goal when he fired a screamer past the Seton keeper to make it 3-0 Covenant. At that point, the Eagles were in cruise control and appeared to be heading to an easy victory.
That all changed in the 70th minute.
Seton got a pair of goals within three minutes of each other to pull within one.
With new life and all the momentum, the Conquistadors made a hard push for the equalizer.
With four minutes of stoppage time and Seton peppering Covenant goalkeeper Will Maupin with shots, the final minutes of the game felt like an eternity for the Eagles.
“I remember looking up at the clock and seeing 78 [minutes] and then what felt like an hour later, I looked up again and it was still at 78,” Scott said.
But the equalizer never came. And when the final whistle sounded, the Covenant bench erupted in joy. McCaskill laid face down on the field, soaking in the reality of being a state champion. Players embraced, fans cheered and parents snapped pictures for their scrapbooks and social media as the Eagles raised their hard-earned state championship trophy high into the cold night sky.
“I’ve been working for this since my freshman year,” Degiorgis said. “I love the guys. This team is going to be in my heart forever. I love this feeling.”