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Berkmar boys bounce North from soccer playoffs

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Berkmar's Jonathan Dowis (6) battles for the ball against North Gwinnett's Kolby Daigle (4) during the second round of Class AAAAAA boys soccer state playoffs in Lilburn Wednesday. Berkmar defeated North Gwinnett 2-0.

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Berkmar's Jonathan Dowis (6) battles for the ball against North Gwinnett's Kolby Daigle (4) during the second round of Class AAAAAA boys soccer state playoffs in Lilburn Wednesday. Berkmar defeated North Gwinnett 2-0.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Berkmar's Rocky Guerra (10) is challenged by North Gwinnett's Swezen Kizito (13) during the second round of Class AAAAAA boys soccer state playoffs in Lilburn Wednesday. Berkmar defeated North Gwinnett 2-0.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Berkmar's Eric Solorzano (28) face is unseen due to the location of the ball after a header by North Gwinnett's Nico Polanco (11) during the second round of Class AAAAAA boys soccer state playoffs in Lilburn Wednesday. Berkmar defeated North Gwinnett 2-0.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Berkmar's Alexis Montanez (14) and his teammates celebrate their 2-0 victory over North Gwinnett during the second round of Class AAAAAA boys soccer state playoffs in Lilburn Wednesday.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Berkmar's Alex Ramos (3) reacts after scoring the first goal of the game against North Gwinnett during the second round of Class AAAAAA boys soccer state playoffs in Lilburn Wednesday. Berkmar defeated North Gwinnett 2-0.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan North Gwinnett's Chad Yoon (5) season comes to an end after the Bulldogs 2-0 loss against Berkmar during the second round of Class AAAAAA boys soccer state playoffs in Lilburn Wednesday.

LILBURN -- Berkmar's march in the postseason continued like it began last week. The Patriots got just enough offense and some solid defense to knock off North Gwinnett 2-0 in the second round of the Class AAAAAA boys' soccer state tournament.

Berkmar defeated Etowah 1-0 in the first round.

Scoreless at the half, Berkmar finally got on the scoreboard with 26:28 to go in the game when Alex Ramos put the Patriots up 1-0.

Kofi Twumasi broke in from the left side and centered the ball through a crowd in front of the goal to an open Ramos, who converted to put Berkmar on top.

North began to push offensively as the clock wound down and Berkmar took advantage when Twumasi got free just outside the penalty box for the game-clincher with only 1:08 remaining.

"We came out to win and we knew we had to be focused and disciplined," Twumasi said. "Our coaches told us to keep taking the shots and keeping the ball low."

Twumasi finished with a goal and an assist, which made a winner out of Berkmar and head coach Tracy Crouch.

"The boys just proved again that the team is bigger than themselves," said Crouch. "They are playing for one another and there's just this passion to keep the season alive, especially for these seniors. I'm just so proud of what this team has accomplished this season and how selfless everyone has been."

Berkmar finished with 17 total shots, including nine on goal, and also had five corner kicks.

North had eight total shots, including five on goal, and three corner kicks. But the Bulldogs couldn't get anything past Berkmar goal keeper Juan Carlos Lopez as the Patriots won their fifth game in a row.

Berkmar began the game in control offensively as the Patriots pounded out 10 shots.

But North goal keeper Max Smith continued to come up big and turned away five shots on goal by Berkmar, including Alexis Montanez's shot in close from the left side.

Montanez also gathered the rebound, but missed to keep the contest scoreless.

"Missing some of those early opportunities has been plaguing us year," said Crouch. "We had some opportunities tonight that we weren't able to capitalize on, but we just stuck with it and didn't quit. North is very well organized, well coached and their goalkeeper (Smith) was unbelievable. He's the best we've faced all year and deserves a lot of credit."

Berkmar maintained that offensive edge for the first 25 minutes of the opening half, but North began to turn the momentum and finally put some shots on goal late in the final 15 minutes.

None came closer than John Arndt's shot off a rebound that hit the crossbar late in the half.

Berkmar (13-5-1) moves on to the quarterfinals and will face the winner of Druid Hills/North Cobb on Saturday.

"This is uncharted territory for us going past the Sweet 16," said Crouch. "It's just amazing."

North's season ends in the second round with a record of 10-7-2.