Chelsea topples Vestavia Hills on road to book spot in second round

Published 10:37 am Tuesday, April 30, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

VESTAVIA HILLS – The Chelsea Hornets started their playoff journey with a big road victory as they went into Vestavia Hills High School and defeated the Vestavia Hills Rebels 2-1 on Monday, April 29 in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs.

Chelsea got out to an early multi-goal lead to take control of the contest and held on until the end on defense to secured the one-goal win and move on to the second round of the playoffs.

The Hornets quickly got a big chance as Luke Miller hit Max Wever with a cross and Wever hit the crossbar with his header.

Later in the first half, Harper Jones volleyed a shot and navigated the ball into the goal with a strong strike to give Chelsea the opening goal that put it up 1-0.

That wasn’t all for the Hornets or Harper in the first half as they doubled up soon after.

Just a few minutes removed from Jones’ goal, he found the back of the net once again to increase the lead to 2-0 and give Chelsea control of the match.

However, Vestavia Hills tried to wrestle that control back by putting pressure on the Hornets the rest of the way.

Three minutes after Jones’ second score of the half, the Rebels got a goal to pull within one, but the goal was called back for an offside.

Vestavia Hills would then score in the final moments of the half to get a goal back and go into halftime trailing the Hornets 2-1.

Chelsea held back the Rebels attack in the second half and maintained their one-goal advantage down the stretch.

However, that lead was tested when Vestavia Hills won a penalty and had a chance to equalize from the spot.

Faced with a ground-ball shot slightly to his left, Brock Marlow dropped to the ground and extended his hand down to earn the big save, and the Hornets defenders surrounded the ball and saw it go out of bounds to see off the scoring threat.

That save secured the shutout second half for Marlow and the Chelsea defense as they secured the 2-1 win to move on to the next round.

During the match, Miller set a key career milestone as he earned the most tackles in Hornets program history. The sophomore entered the match just two tackles shy of the mark of 125 and earned four over the course of the match to break the record.

The victory gave Chelsea its 20th win of the season and extended its win streak to eight in a row.

The Hornets will square off with area foe Oak Mountain in the second round of the playoffs. Chelsea will look to avenge two of its three losses on the season and end the Eagles undefeated season in a battle of the top two teams in the state on Friday, May 3 at 7 p.m. at Oak Mountain High School.