Pelham 2, Cullman 0
HUNTSVILLE – Pelham won its first state boys’ soccer championship in school history Saturday beating defending Class 6A state champion Cullman 2-0 in the 2017 Class 6A state finals at John Hunt Park to close out the 27th annual AHSAA State Soccer Championships.
Pelham (22-6-1), coached by Patrick McDonald, got a big effort from 6A Championships MVP Braxton Jeffcoat, who scored one goal in both the semi-finals, showed great leadership in sparking the Panthers in the final match to the state crown.
Armando Valencia scored on a miraculous free kick midfield moon shot that climbed in the wind just over the outreached arms of Cullman goalkeeper Jaron Potter at the 20:47 mark. Pelham’s defenders kept pressure on the Bearcats (16-7-1) the entire match – keeping the ball on their side of the field most of the contest.
Jose Jimenez scored a late goal to seal the win. The Panthers out-shot Coach Casey Harbin’s Bearcats 16-6. Potter registered seven saves for Cullman, and Pelham keeper Seth Torman had two.
Cullman has two state titles to its credit, winning in 2002 and 2016.
McGill-Toolen Catholic 2, Vestavia Hills 0
HUNTSVILLE – McGill-Toolen Catholic High school downed defending Class 7A girls’ state soccer champion Vestavia Hills Saturday at John Hunt Park to claim the Mobile school’s first state title in school history.
Senior goalkeeper Eva Knapstein of McGill-Toolen (23-2), named the Class 7A State Championships MVP, stopped six shots on goal to secure the shutout over the Lady Rebels (19-2-3). She allowed only one goal in the semifinals versus Fairhope.
Vestavia (19-2-3), coached by Brigid Littleton, out-shot McGill-Toolen 11-8.
The match was still tied at 0-0 at halftime, Sophomore Angelina Piccini’s goal at 47:33 McGill-Toolen a 1-0 lead and more importantly, gave Coach Cheryl Flores’ Jackets the momentum the rest of the way. McGill’s tough defense allowed Vestavia Hills only one shot on goal the rest of the match.
Junior Chloe Martin scored an insurance goal in the final 10 minutes to seal the win.
Vestavia Hills’ sophomore goalkeeper Anna Woodson recorded three saves for the Rebels, who have four state titles to their credit including winning in 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2016.
Chelsea 2, Southside-Gadsden 0
HUNTSVILLE – Chelsea High School goalkeeper Sabrina Lang stopped all four shots Southside-Gadsden could send her way Saturday and Lexie Duca anchored the Hornets’ strong defense in a 2-0 win over the Panthers in the Class 6A girls’ state soccer championship match Saturday at Huntsville’s John Hunt Park.
Duca was named Class 6A State Championships MVP for Chelsea (17-6-2), coached by Jonathan Hammett. The sophomore scored one goal in the finals and turned in a strong defensive performance to help secure the shutout.
Chelsea took a quick 1-0 lead on Duca’s goal 4:15 into the contest. She got an assist from Kailey Littleford at the 4:15 mark. Southside was able to force two corner kicks and 3 shots on goal down the stretch, but Lang, a senior, stymied the efforts with her play at the net.
Chelsea was able to get off five shots on goal in the second half finally scored at the 76:54 mark when Madeline Gullien scored to give the Hornets a 2-0 lead.
Southside head coach Tiffany Julien Cargill used two goalkeepers with Savanna Blackwell making two saves and Alley Rurgi notching four. Chelsea out-shot Southside 16-6 for the game.
The win gave Chelsea its second state title and the first since 2012.