Oak Mountain downs Vestavia Hills in 2nd round of Class 7A playoffs
Published 10:56 pm Tuesday, May 2, 2023
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor
NORTH SHELBY – On a redemption path looking to avenge a loss in last year’s state championship game, the Oak Mountain boys soccer team took a step in that direction on Tuesday, May 2 in the opening round of the 2023 Class 7A playoffs.
Taking on No. 9 Vestavia Hills, the Eagles scored two first half goals against the Rebels and steadily pulled away from there en route to a 4-1 victory to kickstart their postseason run.
The win not only punched Oak Mountain’s ticket to the quarterfinals and put them a win away from the Final Four, but the Eagles picked up their sixth win in a row and 11th in the last 12 games. Their only non-wins in the last 14 games now are both ties.
Now 21-2-2 following the win, the Eagles’ defense continued to be a highlight in the opening round of the playoffs, giving up one goal or less for the 22nd time in 25 games.
That was a plus for Oak Mountain in the win over the Rebels, as the early cushion helped the team feel confident in protecting the lead.
That early cushion was thanks to two goals in the first 20 minutes of the opening half.
Aidan Riley got the scoring started 13 minutes into the game with a penalty kick sneaking by the keeper and into the back of the net.
Then, eight minutes later, Nate Joiner jumped in on the action with a goal of his own, burying a shot to make it 2-0 with 20:15 to play in the period.
Oak Mountain’s defense did the trick from there, protecting the 2-0 advantage going into the halftime break.
More importantly, the Eagles came out in the second half and added even more cushion for the defense with a goal from Gabe Capocci within six minutes of the period getting underway.
His goal made it 3-0, which became key, a Vestavia responded with a goal a few minutes later to trim the deficit to two goals.
That, however, became Oak Mountain’s only blemish in the game.
The Eagles got another goal from Joiner with 17 minutes to play to ice the game with the defense finishing off a strong effort from there for the 4-1 win.
Oak Mountain will now travel to Hoover later this week with a trip to the Final Four on the line.