HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — On Thursday, five Tennessee Valley area high school soccer teams had an opportunity to advance to the finals of the AHSAA State Soccer Championship at John Hunt Park.
Donoho 4, Whitesburg Christian 0
Donoho took control early and Erin Turley took over in the second half.
Zoe Christopher fed teammate Tosin Sanusi for a goal just two minutes into Thursday’s Class 1A-3A girls’ state soccer semifinal at John Hunt Park in Huntsville, and Turley added three second-half goals in a 4-0 victory over Whitesburg Christian. The win sends the Falcons (21-0-1) of Coach Jay Jenkins into the finals Friday to face Trinity Presbyterian (18-4-1) at 5 p.m.. The Wildcats beat Cottage Hill Christian 3-2.
Turley scored her first goal on a perfect crossing pass from Christopher and added the second with about 26 minutes to go. Just four minutes later, she faked past a defender and completed her hat trick. Donoho goalkeepers Maggie Wakefield and Callie Taylor combined for the shutout.
The Falcons (21-0-1) advance into the championship round for the first time in school history. Whitesburg Christian (12-5-0), a private school in Huntsville coached by Julia Houser, was also trying to win its first state soccer championship. Goalkeeper Lillie Harmon made several acrobatic saves against Donoho’s relentless attack before Turley’s second-half goal barrage.
Mars Hill Bible 2, Collinsville 1 (2 OT)
Junior forward Jingu Kim kept Mars Hill Bible’s boys’ soccer championship dream alive Thursday afternoon. He scored with 3:30 remaining in the second overtime lifting Mars Hill (20-1-0) to a 2-1 victory over Collinsville in the 30th State Soccer Class 1A/3A boys’ semifinals. Kim’s goal set off a wild celebration as Mars Hill’s reserves charged on the field while several Collinsville players fell face-first in disappointment.
Mars Hill advances to Friday’s championship game against Bayside Academy (20-1-2), a 2-0 winner over St. Luke’s, in the other 1A-3A boys’ semifinal. Mars Hill has never won a boys state soccer title. Bayside has won two, 2016 and 2019.
Collinsville (15-5-1) was trying to win its first state championship since 2014 and become just the second public school team since 1993 to win a boys’ state soccer title in the AHSAA’s smallest classification.
Panthers’ leader Roberto Diaz opened the scoring with 5:03 to go in the first half, leaping high and heading in a corner kick for a 1-0 lead. Mars Hill goalkeeper Lan Whiteside made several diving saves in the second half to prevent Collinsville from adding to its lead, and the teammate Caleb Conner scored the equalizer with 7:20 to go in regulation.
Neither team scored in the first five-minute overtime, although Collinsville goalkeeper Jonathan Ocelot made a save just before the horn.
Kim’s goal less than two minutes into the second overtime ended the game.
St. John Paul II 2, Guntersville 0
Defense dominated the first 40-plus minutes of the Class 4A/5A girls’ soccer semifinals Thursday afternoon as neither St. John Paul II Catholic nor Guntersville could find any offensive consistency.
It seems altogether appropriate that a defensive player changed the game.
St. John Paul II senior defender Emilia Summerlin scored in the second half, banging home a rebound off a corner kick, and fellow senior Alyna Brininger scored less than two minutes later to break open the defensive battle.
The Falcons (17-4) completed the shutout and earned a 2-0 victory over Guntersville (14-6) on Thursday at John Hunt Park in Huntsville.
St. John Paul advances to Friday’s championship game, set for 5 p.m., against Montgomery Academy (19-0-1), which defeated John Carroll 5-0 in the other semifinal.
St. John Paul II has never won an AHSAA girls soccer state title, while Montgomery Academy won the 1A-3A title in 2017 and 2018 and took home the 4A-5A championship in 2019 before last year’s spring sports championships were cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
All AHSAA state soccer finals will be livestreamed over the subscriber-based NFHS Network.
Russellville 3, Crossville 2 (OT)
Russellville High School’s boys’ soccer team had to work overtime to stay undefeated. Juan Cano uncorked a shot from near midfield, and it skipped past Crossville goalkeeper Ernesto Lopez with 30 seconds to go in overtime to lift the Golden Tigers (19-0-0) to a 3-2 victory over Crossville (15-4-0) in the Class 4A-5A semifinals at John Hunt Park to close out the first day of action at the 30th AHSAA State Soccer Championships Thursday night.
The teams played their semifinal to a 2-2 tie in regulation. However, a storm blew through the park in the final minute and sent players and fans scurrying for cover with 11 seconds to go and the match still tied. After the 30-minute weather delay, the teams returned to a water-logged field and played in the rain, finished the final 11 seconds and then began play in the overtime period.
The wet field caused some odd bounces of the ball, but none more spectacular than the big bounce that sent Cano’s game-winner into the net.
Russellville advances to Friday’s championship game at 5 p.m., at John Hunt Park, against Indian Springs (23-2-12), which earned a 2-0 victory over Montgomery Academy in Thursday’s other semifinal. Russellville has never won an AHSAA boys soccer state title.
The teams traded goals in the first half, as Crossville’s Antonio Gallardo open the scoring with a header off a perfect corner kick by teammate Kevin Rios with 20:29 to go in the first half. Russellville answered with Orlando Jimenez’s left-footed goal with 12:50 remaining before halftime.
Crossville’s Manuel Rios Quintino scored with 7:07 to go before halftime to give the Lions a 2-1 lead at intermission. Russellville’s Jonathan Salgado scored with 12:48 remaining to knot the game at 2-all.