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RRD tournament is a low scoring affair as one goal decides the first and third place matches.
Friday, May 24, 2013
Since the Blacksburg boys soccer team hasn’t dropped a match all season, some of its fans think that when the Bruins do lose a game it will be a cold day in July.
For a moment of the River Ridge District tournament championship Friday, it appeared it might just be a cold night in May.
Blacksburg sophomore forward Sebi Brown broke a scoreless tie with Salem two and a half minutes into the second half with a strong kick from about 20 yards out that found the upper right portion of the net. Despite a valiant lunge, Spartans keeper Andrew Franklin was unable to deflect it. Brown’s goal was the game-winner, the Bruins prevailing 1-0 at Dwight Bogle Stadium.
Brown had been taken out by a Salem defender moments before his goal. He admitted the physical play that did not draw a whistle served as a motivator .
“You’re not always going to get a call, and you can’t take out your frustrations by retaliating against the official,” Brown said with a grin.
Back on his feet, Brown was working a give-and-go with teammate Geinda Smith.
“Sebi had two guys on him. When one of the defenders went with Geinda [who was breaking toward the goal], Sebi got a step on the other man and let it fly,” Blacksburg coach Shelley Blumenthal explained. “It was a hard, high shot, close to the pipe.”
Blumenthal was not surprised by Salem’s spirited battle.
“We expected them to,” he said. “They’re the second-best team in the district and they have a lot of technical players.”
Salem had two opportunities to score in the first half, but a corner kick that bent around the mouth of the goal narrowly missed. Then in the game’s 33rd minute, Blacksburg keeper Gillen Beck made a nifty save against Grant Foley, who approached him on a breakaway.
Blacksburg raised its season record to 15-0-2. As regular season district champions, the Bruins host the winner of Tunstall-Richlands in next week’s regional competition. Salem will travel to Abingdon.
The Spartans (10-6-2) have now lost to Blacksburg three times, but Friday’s clash was definitely the closest .
“We hung in there,” said Salem coach Dean Jones. “Last Friday we lost to them 3-1 and tonight it was 1-0. If we get them again, who knows? We were playing to counter and although we didn’t get a goal, we basically did that. That was our game.”
In the third-place game, Cave Spring (12-7) edged Hidden Valley (9-7-3) 1-0 when senior Hunter Hickam scored his fifth goal of the season in the game’s 89th minute. The Knights had lost a semifinal match to Salem in double overtime the night before and it appeared another overtime game was in the cards.
“It was phenomenal,” an elated Hickam said. “The ball just popped up to me and I had to shoot.”
Cave Spring will play at Bassett on Tuesday in regional competition.
During the post-tournament trophy presentations, Salem’s Jack Maxey was named district player of the year while Jones was voted district coach of the year.
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