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Stars power into state soccer finals

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

MABLETON -- The Providence Christian boys soccer team started fast and ended strong with a 4-1 win over Pace Academy in the Class A state semifinals Wednesday night.

Before most of the fans had taken their seats, Caleb McQuaig gave the Stars (16-5-1) an early 1-0 lead just 3:42 into the opening half.

Less than two minutes later, Ted Perry added another goal off a corner kick as Providence found itself up 2-0 with 34:44 remaining before halftime.

"That meant the world," Providence head coach Todd Henry said. "It changed the whole tempo, they had to press more and we don't have to. We're a possession team, we like to knock it around so that really helps.

"Early in the year we really struggled. We'd give up a goal almost every game to start off so we always had to play from behind. The work ethic of these boys since we had a two-week break from the last regular season game has really motivated these guys."

Matt McGlamery added to the Providence lead on a header with 12:45 to go before halftime as the Knights (15-3) had no answer for the Stars attacking style of offense.

"The guys know you gotta keep playing, you gotta keep pushing," Henry said. "Three goals, you think you've got the game won, but I've seen them (Pace) play and they've scored four goals and they've scored quick."

The second half started the same way as the first after Reed Spencer netted Providence's fourth goal less than 90 seconds into the second half.

Four different players scored for the Stars as Pace was unable to focus in on just one player to take away from Henry's offense.

"We're a team, we don't have any stars," he said. "We have one kid who can throw the ball 40 yards, but that's just a skill that he has and he's just a part of our team."

Despite allowing a goal with 26:27 left to play, Henry seemed pretty pleased with his team's effort and felt confident heading into the Class A title game Saturday.

"We've given up a goal in almost every game," he said. "Yeah, you want the shutout, but more importantly you want the win.

"We've done everything we can do. We'll have a light practice tomorrow, do our normal pregame practice Friday and hopefully come out on top Saturday night."