Warriors edge Newberry, net Upstate title match bid

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Prep Soccer Playoffs

By Robert Howey


INDIAN LAND – In a match of survival and advance, host Indian Land had enough to edge Newberry in the Class AA Upper State semifinals at IL’s Reservation on Saturday, May 17.

The Warriors, 18-5 and the No. 1 seed in the Class AA Upstate soccer field, tallied two second-half goals to down the visiting Bulldogs, 2-1.

The win sends IL to the Class AA Upper State match for the fourth straight season, with a chance to earn a bid to the Class AA state title match at River Bluff High School on Saturday, May 24.

Academic Magnet of Charleston hosted Waccamaw on Tuesday in the Class AA Lower State title match.

The IL Warriors faced Saluda for the Class AA Upstate crown on Tuesday, May 20 at the Reservation.

Saluda, the third-seeded team in the Upstate field, advanced with a 1-0 win over Andrew Jackson in the Class AA Upstate title match.

The Warriors were coming off a 7-0 home win over Mid-Carolina on Friday, May 16.

In the Saturday afternoon match, Garrett Gerdes tallied two goals to lift IL to the tough win.

“Garrett played outstanding today,” IL coach Adam Cole said. “He seemed to be everywhere out there.”

Jordan Szustwal had an assist on one of Gerdes’ tallies.

“Our whole team did a good job of stepping up today,” Cole said. “We were coming off a win Friday and responded well against a tough team. We know this, but as you advance, the competition gets better and better. I was proud of the way we played in getting a big win.”

The Warriors, led by keeper Jake Barton who had 18 saves, came up big in the late stages as the IL defense denied Newberry’s constant attack on the Warriors’ goal.

Cole tipped his hat to key play from the trio of Mason Huebsch, Matthew Medlock and Henry Suvillaga.

Newberry finished with a 15-4 mark for the 2014 season.

IL opened the playoffs with a 5-2 win over Calhoun County before blanking Mid-Carolina and topping Newberry, 2-1.

Volunteers fall in OT

The Andrew Jackson Volunteers’ reward for defeating No. two-seeded Pendleton on Thursday evening, May 15 was for the Vols to travel to Saluda to play the third-seeded  Tigers.

SHS sported an impressive 17-1 record, but the determined Vols came close to getting their second straight upset after a 2-1 win over Pendleton on Tuesday.

From the outset, the match was a hard-fought defensive battle.

Both teams had very efficient defensive back lines and solid goal keepers.

AJ did get 19 shots at goal to only nine for Saluda.

Both teams had four corner kicks, but neither team could score off the corner kicks or any other way and the game ended in regulation with a 0-0 tie.

The teams played two 10-minute overtimes to decide the winner.

Early in the first overtime, Saluda’s Miguel Diaz scored off a crossing pass to put the Tigers up 1-0.

After that, AJ launched an all-out offensive blitz to try to tie the score again, but some of their shots sailed wide, or over the net and some were saved by the Saluda High keeper. 

Saluda’s only loss of the season was to Newberry.

AJ, which posted a solid postseason run, saw its season close with an 11-11 record.

Andrew Jackson downed region rival Cheraw High, 4-0 and then knocked off No. 2 seed Pendleton, 2-1 before falling to Saluda, 1-0 on Saturday, May 17.