Monday, January 27, 2020






Hoover, Vestavia Hills Claim 7A Soccer Crowns; St. Paul’s, Homewood win 6A Titles

Saturday’s Results at the 29th AHSAA State Soccer Championships

HUNTSVILLE – Hoover claimed the Class 7A boys’  state soccer title and St. Paul’s Episcopal won the Class 6A state title Saturday at John Hunt Soccer Complex with both finals grinding through two overtimes and a shootout.
   Homewood won the Class 6A state girls’ crown in dramatic fashion as well while Vestavia Hills repeated at Class 7A girls’ state soccer champs by extending  the Rebels’ current winning streak to 28 in a row.
    The 29th AHSAA State Soccer Championships concluded the 2019 season with the 6A and 7A championships Saturday. The NFHS Network live-streamed all AHSAA soccer championship matches and have them archived for viewing at

Class 7A Boys’ Finals
Hoover 3, Enterprise 2 (2 OT, 5-3 in shootout)
    HUNTSVILLE – The Hoover Bucs of Coach Kris Keplinger (19-4-3) were pushed to the limit in Saturday’s Class 7A Boys’ Soccer Championship match but prevailed to nip Enterprise 3-2. The Bucs won their first state soccer title since 2003 with some clutch play by junior Richard Ujueta. He had both Hoover goals in regulation, then was one of five Bucs to nail their kicks to capture the title with a 5-3 edge in the shootout. Hoover goalkeeper Max Rudolph stopped the Wildcats (14-6-4) on their fourth shootout kick attempt to seal the win.
     Hoover’s lineup of Sam Bauder, Ujueta, Nicholas Ibanez, Igor Rudolph and Finn Dowdey all drilled their shots past the Wildcats’ keeper Logan Smith, even though he did come close to blocking two. 
     Coach Bruce Ladner sent Tyler Howard, Rasheed Bolaji, Edgar Munoz and Anthony Venezia to the line in the shootout with the first three nailing their kicks. Rudolph stopped the last shot, however, to end the match.
    Ujeuta, named the Class 7A state championship boys’ MVP, tied the contest in the first half on a goal assisted by Ibanez at 34:34. Enterprise’s Sebastian Guerrero opened the scoring at 21:32 when slipped his kick into the goal. The shot was set up by Bolaji’s assist.
    Ujueta gave Hoover the lead at 72-23 in the second period with his second goal. Caleb Cusineau was credited with the assist. The Wildcats clawed back, however, sending the match into overtime when Andre Mazariegos scored with only 25 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the match and send it into overtime at 2-2. Neither team scored in either overtime period to set up the final shootout.

Class 6A Boys Final
St. Paul’s Episcopal 3, Fort Payne 2 (2 OT, 5-3 in shootout)
    HUNTSVILLE – St. Paul’s Episcopal and Fort Payne replicated the intense action of the  earlier Class 7A boys’ championship match with its match that lasted almost 90 minutes from start to finish as the Saints squeezed out a 3-2 victory that rolled through two overtimes and concluded with a dramatic 5-3 edge in the deciding shootout.
    Tradition-steeped Fort Payne (17-9-1), coached by Tom Shanklin, took the early lead with senior Aaron Chavez delivering the first goal and a 1-0 Wildcats lead just 2:49 into the championship match.  Kenneth Toledo got the assist. Toledo picked up his second assist of the match in the second period when senior Erin Escobar landed Fort Payne’s second goal to take a commanding 2-0 lead.
    The Saints (17-6-2) of Coach Chad Harrelson were not through, however. Senior Nicholas Alford drilled a pass from teammate Coleman Little for a goal at 70:07 to cut the Wildcats lead to 2-1. St. Paul’s then tied the match at  2-2 when Little, who earned Class 6A boys’ state championship MVP, picked up his second assist with a corner kick pass to Turner Boulo and the junior forward drove the shot home to tie the match at 2-2.
     Both teams had scoring opportunities in the overtime periods, but failed to score.
      Harrelson sent Nathaniel Hudson, Little, goalkeeper Grayson Myles, Oladipupo Fagbongbe and Matthew Clarke to the mark in the shootout with all five managing goals.  Fort Payne’s Toledo, Ruben Robles and Chavez had successful kicks, but Miguel Reyes’ shot missed its mark.
   The state championship was the first boys’ state soccer title in St. Paul’s history. The Saints moved to 6A this season from Class 4A/5A.
    Fort Payne won state titles in 2011 and 2015.

Class 7A Girls’ Soccer Finals

Vestavia Hills 2, McGill-Toolen Catholic 0
    HUNTSVILLE – Vestavia Hills blanked McGill-Toolen Catholic 2-0 – scoring both goals in the first 14:41 of the match en route to finishing off a perfect 22-0-0 season with the AHSAA Class 7A girls’ state championship win.
    The Lady Rebels (22-0-0) of Coach Brigid Meadow also tied the state’s longest  girls’ soccer winning streak by claiming their 28th victory in a row. The last loss came on April 13, 2018 to James Clemens 3-2. The Rebels beat the Jets in last year’s playoffs one month later and also won 5-1 in  the semifinals over James Clemens on Friday.
       Vestavia, which has six girls’ state championships (2019, 2018, 2016, 2007, 2005 and 2001), now shares the AHSAA’s longest winning streak record with Oak Mountain, which equaled that mark in the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Mountain Brook won 26 in a row from 2008-2009, Oak Mountain won 26 in a row in 2004 and Westbrook Christian won 24 in a row in 2015.
    Senior forward Lizzie Hill put the Rebels ahead for good with a goal just 6:30 into the match. She finished with four shots on goal and earned Class 7A girls’ state championship MVP honors.  Sophomore Riley Vicinanzo scored the second goal eight minutes later at 14:41. The tenacious Rebels defense did the rest.
    McGill-Toolen (14-5-2), coached by Cheryl Flores, managed seven shots on goal, three by Hannah Pitts, but Vestavia’s senior goalkeeper Anna Woodson recorded six saves to seal the shutout.  McGill-Toolen goalkeeper Baily Dixon had seven saves.
     Vestavia Hills has won the 7A state championship three of the last four years. McGill-Toolen has the other title (2017).

Class 6A Girls’ Soccer Finals
Homewood 3, Chelsea 2
    HUNTSVILLE – Homewood High School’s Lady Patriots (19-4-5) of Coach Mindy McBride scored late in the second period to nip Chelsea 3-2 in a dramatic come-from-behind win to clinch the school’s first-ever girls’ AHSAA state soccer title.
   Junior Claire Touliatos got the winning goal at 70:51, thanks to an assist from Eleanor Kyle.  Just 73 seconds earlier, Kyle, a sophomore, tied the match at 2-2 with a goal assisted by Maggie O’Hare and Marguerite Middlemas.
    O’Hare managed the first goal of  the match just 14:34 into the finals, scoring on an assist from Audrey Nabors. Chelsea (21-3-1), coached by Jonathan Hammett, tied the match at 21:20 on a goal by Kailey Littleford. The Hornets took the lead in the second period when Morgan Bright scored at the 61:24 mark.
   Homewood senior goalkeeper Jada Repp earned Class 6A girls’ state championship MVP registering four saves. Chelsea goalkeeper Titus MacKenzie had three saves.
   The Lady Hornets won state titles in 2012 and 2017. Chelsea and Homewood played once during the regular season in 2019 with the Patriots losing 4-3.

AHSAA State Soccer Championships
John Hunt Soccer Complex, Huntsville
Finals set for Saturday (6A and 7A) begin at 10 a.m. The NFHS Network will live-stream all finals.

Altamont (13-6-2) 2, Westminster Christian (12-8-1) 0
Westminster-Oak Mountain (16-2-1) 4, Cottage Hill Christian (17-5-0) 0

Altamont (15-6-1)  5, Collinsville (16-7-0) 1
Bayside Academy (19-2-2) 2, Westminster-Oak Mountain (13-7-0) 1

Southside-Gadsden (21-2-0) 3, St. John Paul II Catholic (12-5-3) 0
Montgomery Academy (21-3-1) 5, John Carroll Catholic (13-4-1) 2

Springville (20-6-0) 3, St. John Paul II Catholic (16-6-1) 1
Briarwood Christian (20-1-3) 2, Montgomery Academy (24-6-0) 1


Homewood (18-4-5) 8, Decatur (12-6-2) 0
Chelsea (21-2-1) 8, St. Paul’s Episcopal (17-4-2) 0

Fort Payne (17-9-1) 2, Homewood (19-3-4) 0
St. Paul’s Episcopal (16-6-2) 2, Pelham (16-10-1) 1

Vestavia Hills (21-0-0) 5, James Clemens (13-5-2) 1
McGill-Toolen (14-4-2) 2, Auburn (14-7-3) 0

Hoover (18-4-3) 2, Florence (15-4-0) 1 (2 OT)
Enterprise (14-5-4) 4, McGill-Toolen Catholic (18-6-4) 3 (2 OT)

(All live-streamed by the NFHS Network,
Class 1A/3A Boys’ Championship, Fri., May 10, 5 p.m.
Bayside Academy (20-2-2) 2, Altamont (15-7-1) 0
Class 4A/5A Girls’ Championship, Fri., May 10, 5 p.m.
Montgomery Academy (22-3-1) 2, Southside-Gadsden (21-3-0) 1
Class 4A/5A Boys’ Championship, Fri., May 10, 7 p.m.
Briarwood Christian (21-1-2) 5, Springville (20-7-0) 0 
Class 1A/3A Girls’ Championship, Fri., May 10, 7 p.m.
Westminster-Oak Mountain (17-2-1) 3, Altamont (13-8-2) 2 (OT)

Class 7A Boys’ Championship, Sat., May 11, 10 a.m.

Hoover (19-4-3) 3, Enterprise (14-6-4) 2 (2 OT, shootout, 5-3)
Class 6A Girls’ Championship, Sat., May 11, 10 a.m.
Homewood (19-4-5) 3, Chelsea (21-3-1) 2
Class 6A Boys’ Championship, Sat., May 11, noon
St. Paul’s Episcopal (17-5-2) 3, Fort Payne (17-10-2) 2 (2 OT. Shootout, 5-3)
Class 7A Girls’ Championship, Sat., May 11, noon

Vestavia Hills (22-0-0) 2, McGill-Toolen Catholic (14-5-2) 0

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