The Richmond Hill boys’ soccer team scored three second-half goals to be Grovetown 5-2 at home Wednesday night, advancing to the Elite Eight in the AAAAAA state tournament.
The game was tied 2-2 until Michael Hoffman scored on a header a little more than 10 minutes into the second half on an assist from Cristian Marquez.
“We talked at halftime about our decision making and how to make better passes,” Coach Robbie Flanders said. “We needed to make better passes and make some runs on the goal.”
Richmond Hill clearly controlled the game from start to finish, but allowed Grovetown to score twice in the first half. The Warriors took a 1-0 lead 10 minutes into the game, but Marco Michelini tied it up two minutes later when he put in a rebound after a corner kick.
Grovetown would score again a minute later for a 2-1 lead, but Michelini would tie it up at 2-2 with four minutes left in the first half when his shot hit the Grovetown goalie and spun into the net. Gabe Carillo got the assist.
“This is the second year in a row (making the Elite Eight), so we want to go as far as possible,” senior Joseph Petrino said. “We have the potential.”
Petrino would score with four minutes left in the game to give Richmond Hill a 4-2 lead on an assist from Trevor Blitchington, and Logan Merry’s header a minute later closed out the scoring.
Grovetown, a No. 4 seed from Region 3-AAAAAA, upset Jonesboro, the No. 1 seed in Region 4-AAAAAA, by a score of 3-1 in the first round.
“We knew they had taken out a No. 1 seed, so we didn’t want to underestimate them,” Petrino said.
Flanders said that despite taking several more shots on goal in the first half, the Wildcats needed to capitalize on their efforts to win.
“We didn’t really make any adjustments in the second half, we just had to counter-attack and win every loose ball,” he said. “We played a much higher tempo in the second half.”
Richmond Hill, now 13-4-3, play at Gainesville Saturday.
The Richmond Hill girls’ team lost Tuesday night at Lakeside-Evans on PKs in sudden death after a 1-1 tie. They finish the season at 9-9-1.
“I am extremely proud of the girls this year not only with how they have performed on the field and in training but also how they have conducted themselves off the field,” Coach Rusty Heintz said.
Four members of the team have signed to play collegiately next year.