Eagles end Pelham’s season
Pelham’s first visit to the soccer playoffs in a decade was short lived Tuesday, as its daughter school Oak Mountain ended its season, 2-0.
Oak Mountain’s Mason Lavallett was brought down from behind in the box with 9:09 remaining in the first half to set up a penalty kick for Chandler Hoffman, who gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
“They were playing very conservatively, so the main thing was finding that first goal,” Hoffman said.
It took another 40 minutes before the top-ranked Eagles (24-2-1) scored again on a rebounded shot by Hoffman. Lavallett’s shot hit off the near post, drawing Pelham keeper Austin Pierce out of position, as Hoffman punched in the shot at point-blank range with 8:35 left to play.
Pelham played a defensive game, pushing four defenders in the back, five players in the midfield and only one up top most of the game. The strategy allowed Oak Mountain to control the ball for most of the game and work to execute things it had been working on all week in practice.
“When teams pack it in like that, and choose not to attack, all you’ve got to worry about are counter attacks,” Oak Mountain head coach Justin Pratt said. “We did everything we practiced and stuck to the game plan to a T. It was probably one of our better performances of the year.”
Trey Anderson had three saves for Oak Mountain, while Pierce had four for Pelham (12-12-2).
The game was Pelham’s first playoff appearance since Oak Mountain was formed in 1999 by splitting from Pelham and Chelsea.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow, hosting the No. 1 team in the state,” Pelham head coach Patrick McDonald said. “We had some opportunities on corners, we just weren’t able to put one in.”
With the win, Oak Mountain will travel to Hoover for the Class 6A quarterfinals Saturday. Hoover beat Thompson, 3-0. It’ll be the fourth meeting between the two teams, as Oak Mountain lost the last two in Section 5 play.
“It’s a huge game. I think the trouble with the last times we played them is a lack of intensity,” Lavallett said. “Now that the playoffs are here, we’re bringing it.”
In other Boys’ Soccer Results From Staff Reports:
BRIARWOOD 10, TALLADEGA 1: Briarwood (17-4-4) received two goals apiece from Alexander Faulk, Sean Tilford, Cooper Harrington and Devin Bowman, as the Lions downed Talladega in the Class 5A playoffs. Chris Burris also had a goal. Wilson Whorton had two saves at net for Briarwood. Burris, Benson Mulvaney and Charlie Whorton had two assists for the Lions, while Tilford also had and assist. Briarwood will host Sylacauga in the quarterfinals Saturday.
SYLACAUGA 3, CHELSEA 1: For the second-straight year, Chelsea’s season ended with a first-round loss to Sylacauga. Hunter Luker scored two goals to lead the Aggies, while Justin Frost scored the first goal of the game. Ashley Paige had Chelsea’s lone goal.
INDIAN SPRINGS 7, RAMSAY 1:Indian Springs’ quest for a repeat soccer championship in Class 4A-1A began with a dominating win over Ramsay, who scored its lone goal with 13 seconds left to play. Evan Pantazis, Patrick Dela Cruz and A.J. Jamroz each scored two goals, while Kyle Williams had the other goal for Springs. A.J. Jamroz had two assists, while Taylor Hogan, Ben Fuss, Nick Jamroz and Austin Smith each had one assist. Travis Doye had two saves in the net for Briarwood after splitting time with Freddie Delchamps, who did not face a shot on goal. Springs (19-6-3) will host Altamont in the quarterfinals this weekend.