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Lafayette managed to score a pair of goals against Blacksburg, which had allowed only two goals coming into Friday's Virginia High School League Group 3A Boys Soccer Championships.
Unfortunately for the Rams, two goals were not enough as Blacksburg's Harrison Bankhead recorded a hat trick to lead the Bruins to a 4-2 overtime victory in the state semifinal match.
The Rams opened the game on a high note as Reeves Trott scored the lone first-half goal just over five minutes into the game. Trott delivered a free kick from just outside the box that roared past Blacksburg goalkeeper Will Linkenhoker, who had not allowed a goal this season until then.
Coming off a storm that rolled through Lynchburg, the heat and humidity at the stadium began to rise. Because of the heat, both teams played sluggishly in the first half, making constant substitutions to keep players fresh.
Lafayette held its 1-0 advantage heading into halftime, but the lead would not hold for long.
Seven minutes into the second half, a Lafayette player was called for a handball inside the Rams penalty area, giving Blacksburg a penalty kick. Shane Mecham stepped to the penalty spot and placed the ball to the left side of the net, just outside the reach of Lafayette goalkeeper David Domalski to tie the game at 1-1.
The Rams gave up another costly goal minutes later when a Blacksburg attacker played a cross into the box. A Lafayette defender attempted to head the ball away from the net but mistimed his jump. The ball redirected to the foot of Bankhead, who was there to clean up the loose ball for Blacksburg's second goal of the game.
Lafayette responded with an unusual goal less than five minutes later. Matt Beatty stepped up to take a corner kick from the right side of the field and delivered a curling ball into the box. Blacksburg goalkeeper Gage Carroll misjudged the ball and tipped the ball into the back of the next off his left hand.
With both teams knotted up at 2-2 by the end of regulation, the game headed into a critical overtime period.
The opening overtime period proved disastrous for Lafayette, which allowed back-to-back goals in a span of 34 seconds. The first goal was scored after Blacksburg's Brandon Walters delivered a cross into the center of the box off a counter attack. Bankhead was on the receiving end of the cross, slotting it past Domalski to put the Bruins on top 3-2.
Seconds later, Blacksburg's Harris Salom emulated Walters by delivering a cross into the box for Bankhead, who once again finished the ball in the back of the net for the game-clinching goal.
"I think they got some opportunities in the overtime that we shouldn't have allowed," Lafayette coach Brian Sorrell said. "But it happened, it was a good goal by them. It was a little frustrating that they got behind us, really for the only time. They got the ball there and it's hard one-on-one with the keeper."
Even though his team had just come off a tough loss, Sorrell praised the Rams (13-6-2) for overcoming adversity throughout the season.
"I wouldn't trade these guys for anything. This group is special," he said. "I know our record doesn't reflect something phenomenal like one loss or something, but we had our trials and tribulations this season. The heat here got us a little and I subbed more than I normally do. I think they played hard and they left everything on the field."
Blacksburg 4, Lafayette 2
Goals: Blacksburg (Harrison Bankhead 3, Shane Mecham), Lafayette (Reeves Trott, Matt Beatty)
Assists: Blacksburg (Brandon Walters, Harris Salom)