Providence boys return to semis

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

SAVANNAH -- The usual offensive weapon, the Brent Hansen long throw-in, was still a big factor Saturday afternoon, although Providence boys soccer coach Todd Henry was even more happy with the way his team scored its other goal.

The second of the third-ranked Stars' goals in a 3-1 Class A quarterfinal win Saturday at No. 5 Savannah Country Day was scored in more standard fashion, encouraging to Henry because his team had been relying so heavily on throw-in goals.

"We haven't had a lot of goals in the field lately, so to get one on a cross from (Ryan) Mozzone was really good," Henry said.

That goal, sandwiched between two off Hansen's throw-ins, gave Providence (15-5) the offense it needed to reach the Final Four for the first time in three years. The Stars made the semifinals in 2007 and 2008, and the 2007 team lost in the state title match.

They move on to play the Pace Academy-Hebron winner on Wednesday, while Savannah Country Day (16-2) saw its 15-game winning streak stopped.

Hansen's throw-in provided a goal barely more than seven minutes into Saturday's quarterfinal, as he found teammate Ted Perry for the goal. Only eight minutes later, right wing Mozzone's cross found Caleb McQuaig, who scored on a header for a 2-0 lead.

"Ryan just destroyed them today," Henry said. "They couldn't stop him."

Savannah Country Day answered less than 10 minutes later. Star Nico Rittmeyer scored his 50th goal of the season to cut the margin to 2-1 before halftime. But it was the only goal Rittmeyer managed as the Providence defense of Taylor Henry, Matt McGlamery, Austin Keeler and Robby Lyew delivered.

So did goalie Evan Flowers, who had to stuff Rittmeyer on a one-on-one situation just three minutes into the game. Flowers made nine saves.

McGlamery's header, his 12th goal of the season, with five minutes left in the second half finally gave the visitors a more comfortable lead. It came off a Hansen throw-in to the back post.

Rittmeyer took a penalty kick with 59 seconds left, but hit the crossbar and Flowers punched it out of danger.