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The Bruins boys extend their unbeaten record and get bragging rights in a win over Cave Spring.
T.J. WITTEN | Special to the Roanoke Times
Blacksburg’s Geinda Smith takes a shot Friday in his team’s shutout win against Cave Spring. Both teams, as well as the Blacksburg and Salem girls, advance to next week’s state tournament.
T.J. WITTEN | Special to the Roanoke Times
Salem's Anna Hakkenberg goes after the ball during the Spartans’ 2-1 victory over Blacksburg in the Region IV tournament championship on Friday. T.J. Witten | May 31th 2013 | #11 Anna Hakkenberg
Saturday, June 1, 2013
How important are corner kicks?
They can be game-changers, at least for the Salem girls soccer team.
The Spartans converted two corner kicks into goals in the game’s waning minutes Friday afternoon, enabling Salem to nip Blacksburg 2-1 in the Region IV tournament championship played at Dwight Bogle Stadium.
In Friday’s second game, the Blacksburg boys shut out Cave Spring 4-0 to win their regional title and preserve their unbeaten record (18-0-2).
As all four teams advance to next week’s state tournament, Friday’s games were mostly for bragging rights and home field advantage. The Salem girls will host the Jefferson Forest-Northside loser Tuesday night, while the Blacksburg girls will travel to the winner’s field.
The Blacksburg boys will host the Region III championship loser (E.C. Glass vs. Turner Ashby) while Cave Spring will travel to play the winner.
In Friday’s girls championship, Salem fell behind 1-0 on a first-half goal by sophomore forward Jessi Wollmann , who received the ball behind the Salem defense.
The Spartans (16-3-2) got fired up at halftime, as Salem coach Josh Jones emphasized opportunity.
“I tried to challenge them,” said Jones, who guided the Spartans to a 2003 Group AA state title. “I told the team that there are no guarantees they will ever be in a position to win a regional championship again.”
The Spartans responded well, keeping the ball on Blacksburg’s side of the field for most of the final 40 minutes. Salem missed on several chances, but then senior defender Kim Migliarese converted junior Brittany Shampine’s corner kick with 6:44 left, tying the game 1-1.
Momentum was clearly in Salem’s corner. About five minutes later, in the game’s 79th minute, freshman Hannah Rich had another corner kick for the Spartans and this time freshman Hannah Winstead got the goal on a header.
“We emphasize that [scoring off of] corner kicks are not necessarily [the result of] talent, but [rather] hustle and guts,” Jones said. Jones repeatedly hollered “Crash” from the sidelines on his team’s corner kick opportunities, encouraging his players to crowd the area around the goal.
Blacksburg coach Travis Eschenmann , who notched his 100th career victory Thursday night in a 3-0 victory over Richlands in the regional semifinals, acknowledged that Salem played with “a lot of passion. Sometimes passion can win a game for you,” he said.
The Blacksburg girls (16-3) had not lost a game since April 19, when Salem beat them 1-0.
How many teams have beaten Blacksburg twice in a season in recent times? “I don’t know,” Jones said, “but I’m glad to be on that list.”
In the boys contest, Cave Spring (14-8) was coming off of a high, upsetting Salem 2-1 in Thursday night’s semifinals. The Knights didn’t muster much of a threat against the Bruins, however, even though Blacksburg was missing its starting goalkeeper. Gillen Beck was sidelined with flu symptoms.
Blacksburg (18-0-2) got two goals in each half, and each came from a different scorer . “There’s some balance on this team,” said Bruins coach Shelley Blumenthal, noting his squad’s teamwork, “and we had some great combination play.”
Blumenthal was particularly impressed with the one-two punch of Geinda Smith (assist) and Sebi Brown (goal), who connected on Blacksburg’s final score in the game’s 68th minute. The Bruins got first-half goals from Bradford Mills and Andrew Kim, and then went up 3-0 when Garland Smith’s left-footed kick crossed the mouth of the goal and found the right corner.
Kim’s goal, a one-on-one move against Cave spring freshman keeper Adam Sledd, was his second of the season.
“I had some space so I decided to take it,” Kim said. “I was fortunate it found the back of the net.”
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