Montevallo pulls off comeback to continue historic season
Published 9:37 am Tuesday, May 2, 2023
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor
MONTEVALLO – After watching a 1-0 halftime lead evaporate in the first 20 minutes of the second half, the Montevallo Bulldogs faced their toughest moment of the season on Monday, May 1, trailing Fultondale 2-1 with the season on the line.
The Bulldogs, however, are in the midst of a historic season and didn’t roll over. Instead, they built off the confidence they had gained throughout the season and put together a thrilling comeback effort.
After watching a 1-0 halftime lead evaporate in the first 20 minutes of the second half, the Montevallo Bulldogs faced their toughest moment of the season on Monday, May 1, trailing Fultondale 2-1 with the season on the line.
They still faced that deficit with eight minutes to play, but Ricky Chavez was fouled in the box by Fultondale to earn the team a penalty kick. Giovanni Hernandez stepped in and buried the equalizer to make it 2-2 with 5:36 to play.
“With about 13 minutes remaining, we switched into a more attacking formation,” head coach Brandon Gurganus said.
Montevallo kept up that pressure even after the game-tying goal, not playing for overtime, but playing for the win.
That led to an opportunity with less than three minutes left. With the ball deep in Fultondale territory and threatening, a deflected ball ended up finding its way to Christian Leon, who was in the perfect position to drill the game-winning shot in a 3-2 win.
Now, after winning the area championship for the first time in school history in the regular season, the Bulldogs are off to the quarterfinals of the Class 4A playoffs and one win away from a spot in the Final Four in Huntsville.
Montevallo started the playoff game strong, controlling possession for the first 20 minutes.
That led to midfielder Joan Honduras Chincilla burying a shot from 20 yards out into the upper 90 for a 1-0 lead 10 minutes into the game.
The Bulldogs held onto that lead going into the halftime break, but many opportunities came and went without a goal, which left the door open for Fultondale.
The visiting team capitalized on that early in the second half, scoring the equalizer on a free kick just outside the box very quickly and then taking the lead 20 minutes later.
Montevallo, however, got back into attack mode from there, and eventually, the shots that weren’t finding the net late in the first period did in the final 10 minutes of the match thanks to the persistent effort.
The Bulldogs will now host either Oneonta or American Christian in the quarterfinals later this week.