Heady win for Hebron boys

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

SUGAR HILL -- In a sport that primarily uses the feet to play and score, the hands and head were just the right parts in Hebron Christian Academy's Class A boys state soccer tournament game against Whitefield Academy.

That's what Hebron (14-3-2) used in a thrilling 1-0 win over Whitefield, sending the Lions into Saturday's state quarterfinals against the Pace Academy.

Hebron was knotted in a scoreless battle midway into the second half, thanks to the hands of Lions' goalkeeper John Foley. Time and time again, Foley came up with big saves (13 total) to keep Hebron only a goal away from the lead and potential win.

Foley's performance paid big dividends when a terrific throw-in from Ryan Thomas off the right sideline found Josh Manga deep in front of the Whitefield goal. Manga pivoted and headed the ball past Whitefield goalkeeper Thomas Park with only 17:28 remaining in the game.

From there, it was back to Foley and the Hebron defense to preserve the win, which they did in fine fashion.

"I can't say enough about John Foley in goal for us tonight," said Hebron head coach Bob Gardner. "I didn't think one goal was enough until the clock ran out, but I knew we had John out there for us.

"Whitefield is a very good team and we had to stay aggressive. Ryan (Thomas) is such a weapon on the throw-in and Josh (Manga) has such a presence that he can create an area to work."

Whitefield's season ends at 12-6.

For the Hebron girls, it was a case of heartbreak as The Walker School scored on a Hannah Lones' corner kick with only 1:49 remaining to send the Wolverines to a 2-1 win in the Class A girls state soccer tournament.

Walker (9-5) moves on to play the winner of Fellowship Christian on Friday.

After Walker took a 1-0 lead on a Lindsey Kramer goal at 14:32 of the opening half, Hebron rebounded to tie the game on a deflected shot by McKenzie Towe just seven minutes into the second half.

Hebron maintained the pressure, even hitting the crossbar with just 7:10 to go in the game on a shot by Bianca Clark. But the Lions couldn't capitalize, setting the stage for Lones' corner kick from the left side that curled into the goal without touching another player.

"We just couldn't catch any breaks," said Hebron head coach Ian Driver. "If you look at the game and how it was played on the field, you look up at the scoreboard and it just doesn't seem right.

"But we accomplished our goals at the beginning of the season by making it to state and winning the region, so we have a lot to carry forward going into next season."

Hebron concludes its season at 14-3-1.