JAMES CITY -- Lafayette High’s boys soccer team will host Tuscarora in a state Group AA quarterfinal game Tuesday at Wanner Stadium. The Rams gained that right by defeating Culpeper 1-0 in Friday’s Region I final, also at Wanner Stadium.
The Rams scored first, and managed to keep the ball away from the Blue Devils and win the defensive battle.
Culpeper got the first opportunity on a penalty kick early in the first half. Mack Elliot sent the penalty kick toward the bottom corner of the net, but a diving save from Lafayette’s Alex Emerson kept the Blue Devils off the scoreboard.
“I was able to read the way that (Elliot) was going to aim, and I just dove,” Emerson said. He only needed to make two saves in the game, as his defense kept the Culpeper attack at bay.
The Rams struck first with 7:27 left in the first half after being awarded a free kick from right outside the box. Lafayette’s Reeves Trott crossed the ball into the center, where Andrew Vaccaro knocked it into the back of the net.
Set pieces were crucial for Lafayette throughout the game, as the Rams held a 6-1 advantage in corner kicks.
The Rams threatened to double their lead at the 19-minute mark in the second half when Matt Beatty’s corner kick went off the head of Emery Trott, Reeves’ older brother, and soared just over the crossbar.
The elder Trott led the Rams’ defense and controlled the back line, allowing Culpeper only three shots on goal.
“Our defense did a great job of keeping possession in the back tonight, which really took a lot of pressure off of me,” Emerson said.
As the final whistle blew, the Lafayette players rushed the field to celebrate their regional victory. Both teams advance to the state tournament, with Culpeper heading to Ashburn to face Briar Woods, which beat Tuscarora 2-1.
“Both teams played tough games last night, so you could see a little bit of fatigue out there,” Lafayette coach Brian Sorrell said. “We are going to use this weekend to get some rest and should be ready to go on Tuesday.”
LAFAYETTE 1, CULPEPER 0
Half: 1-0. Goal: Vaccaro. Assist: R. Trott. Saves: Lafayette, Emerson 2; Culpeper, Smith 3.