GAC boys soccer team rolls into Final Four

NORCROSS --Despite a first-half of near-misses against a packed-in defense, Greater Atlanta Christian managed two goals for a halftime lead over visiting Vidalia on Saturday afternoon.

Then the No. 2-ranked Spartans made a rare defensive miscue less than four minutes into the second half of the Class AA boys soccer quarterfinal, giving Vidalia's Ben Flamm a gift goal, just the 14th they've allowed all season.

Suddenly, a match that could have been lopsided was 2-1. The unranked underdogs rode the emotion for the next 15 minutes, playing with a renewed energy.

The favorites weren't shaken, though.

GAC played its typical game of possession control and responded with three more goals, cruising to a 5-1 victory and setting up a Wednesday semifinal matchup at fourth-ranked Calhoun (19-2).

"We just kept our patience and just kept plugging away and finally the goals started to come," GAC boys coach Thom Jacquet said. "We gave up a freak one and that made it a bit of game there, but we did what we wanted. Except for their goal, they really didn't threaten us. ... We were just calm. That's the way we've been all year. We've been down. We've come back. We've been calm all year in any situation."

Brendan Dickerson and Connor Pendery staked the Spartans (16-1-2) to a halftime lead, sneaking two goals past defensive-minded Vidalia (12-4-3).

After the Indians closed the gap to a goal, GAC kept up the pressure and Nash Wagnon hit the crossbar in the 53rd minute. Almost seven minutes later, an insurance goal pushed the lead back to two goals at 3-1.

Zion Gray made a nice run and cross from the right wing, and Davis Bryan finished it off.

"Once we got the third goal, I knew we'd be fine because they didn't threaten us a lot in the first half," Jacquet said.

Less than a minute after his goal, Bryan was taken down in the penalty box by two Vidalia defenders. Max Gomas converted the ensuing penalty kick for a 4-1 edge.

Jordan Arnold closed out the scoring with a goal in the 77th minute.