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After nearly 100 minutes of play and four overtime periods, Jamestown’s Kevin Tripp scored the game-winning goal during Friday’s Virginia High School League Group 4A Soccer Championships at Amherst High School.
The Eagles had good looks at the goal early in the first half. Jeff Wolons nearly scored twice in the opening 10 minutes of play, but both of his shots clanked off the posts and away from the net. In total, Jamestown hit the post three times against Chancellor.
With the first half scoreless, Jamestown found itself facing strong headwinds from a storm front rolling through Amherst. The 25 mph gusts kept Jamestown from clearing the ball from their half, forcing the Eagles to play more defensively and protect against crosses.
Lightning followed the wind gusts, causing a delay in the second half with 18:30 left in regulation. The delay was short-lived and the game resumed after roughly 40 minutes.
Coming out of the delay, Jamestown altered its formation to reflect an attack-oriented mindset.
“We basically had 20 minutes to score a goal and we wanted to be the first ones to get it,” Jamestown coach Bobby O’Brien said. “We went a little bit more direct than we usually do.”
After two scoreless overtime periods, the game shifted into a golden goal format – an overtime period in which the first team to score wins the game. The first golden goal period ended with neither team breaking through.
Finally, after nearly 100 minutes of play, the Eagles found the opening they had been looking for.
Dan Kelly received the ball on the edge of the box and looked to play a cross to Wolons, who was surrounded by a trio of Chancellor defenders. Instead of forcing the ball to Wolons, Kelly spotted a free-running Tripp near the back post.
Kelly played the ball across the box to Tripp, who delivered a hard-hit volley past the Chancellor goalkeeper and into the lower-left corner of the net for the game-winning goal.
The win vaults Jamestown to the state championship game at Liberty University, where the Eagles will face a rematch against Hanover, whom they defeated 2-0 in the 4A South championship game, at 12:15 p.m. Saturday.
While excited to get the opportunity to compete for a state championship, O’Brien thinks Hanover will pose a tougher test the second time around.
“It’s the state championship, so you expect nothing to go as planned. We get to play Hanover again, but it’s always tough to beat a team for the second time,” he said. “We’ll make in-game adjustments as needed based on what coaches and players are seeing. We’re obviously excited to be in this position to play for a state championship.”
Jamestown 1, Chancellor
Goals: Jamestown (Kevin Tripp)
Assists: Jamestown (Dan Kelly)