Oak Mountain survives test from Chelsea as boys, girls soccer teams beat Hornets

Published 9:29 am Tuesday, March 26, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

CHELSEA – The Oak Mountain Eagles boys soccer team faced one of the stiffest tests to its perfect season yet as they battled through an early two-goal deficit on the road against the Chelsea Hornets on Friday, March 22.

However, the Eagles scored four unanswered goals to claim a 4-2 win alongside the Oak Mountain girls soccer team, which edged out a 1-0 victory shortly after.

Early on in the boys match, Chelsea dominated off set pieces and used them to take the lead over its top-ranked rival.

First, Luke Miller took a direct free kick on goal, curling the ball to the top of the net to bounce off the keeper’s glove and in for a goal, putting the Hornets up 1-0.

Just over five minutes later, Chelsea proved that goal was no fluke.

Miller took another free kick, this time opting to send it into the box. While the Eagles keeper and defense combined for a pair of saves, Max Wever took a shot off the second rebound and the ball rolled into the net for the second goal of the game.

Now facing a 2-0 hole to the No. 3 Hornets in a crucial area matchup, Oak Mountain recovered and began marching its way back in hopes of saving its undefeated season.

20 minutes after Wever’s goal, the Eagles found the back of the net for the first time on the evening, cutting the deficit to 2-1 before halftime.

As the second half got underway, Chelsea conceded a penalty and set up Oak Mountain with a golden chance to tie the match.

The Eagles did just that, converting from the spot and tying up the contest at 2-2.

Just mere minutes afterwards, Oak Mountain scored again and took a 3-2 lead over Chelsea.

While the comeback was complete and the lead safely in the Eagles hands, Oak Mountain struck again in the closing minutes with its fourth straight unanswered goal.

That goal put the Eagles up by two goals just over an hour after they trailed by two, sealing the 4-2 victory and improving to 17-0-1 heading into spring break.

Aidan Riley finished the night with a hat trick as he scored three goals off five shots on goal and eight total, all team highs. Gerardo Rodriguez came up with the other goal, and Gabe Capocci and Sam Collins each ended the day with an assist.

Alexander Chaide-Cruz came in for 70 minutes of relief in goal and earned three saves to keep Chelsea scoreless for the remainder of the game after the two early goals.

As for the Eagles girls, they got a test of their own in the nightcap of the doubleheader as Chelsea held them scoreless for the entire first half.

That sent the teams to the locker room tied at 0-0 as the Hornets set themselves up to potentially earn their first area win and third overall win of the season.

However, Oak Mountain finished strong, determined to not lose its second area match of the week after falling to top-ranked Spain Park just three days prior.

Echoing their first meeting on Feb. 29 when the Eagles took a 1-0 victory off a late winner, Oak Mountain finished the job in the second half thanks to a goal on the attack and another clean sheet from the Eagles defense.

The 1-0 win helped Oak Mountain improve to 13-3-2 and hang on to its No. 2 spot in the Class 7A girls soccer coaches poll.

After spring break, the Eagles boys will travel to Auburn on Tuesday, April 2 at 7 p.m., while the girls will have that night off and return to action with an area match at Hewitt-Trussville on Friday, April 5 at 5 p.m. before the boys take the field at 7 p.m.

As for Chelsea, its boys will return on Tuesday, April 2 at 7 p.m. for a county showdown with Thompson at Chelsea High School. The girls are off until Friday, April 12 when they travel to Hewitt-Trussville in their penultimate area match.