Nearly six weeks ago at Wanner Stadium, Grafton’s boys soccer team was no match for perennial power Jamestown. But in Tuesday night’s rematch, with playing on at stake, it was a different story.
The Clippers jumped out to a three-goal lead and held on for a 3-2 win in the Region 4A semifinals. Grafton (12-4-0) clinched a spot in the state tournament for the first since 2014.
The Clippers will play at Smithfield Thursday in the 4A final at a time to be announced. Each team will advance to the state tournament.
“Finally, yes,” said Clippers coach Johnny Yu, whose first season was in ’15. “It’s taken four years to build this team.
“Finally, they get a taste of it. We’ve got a lot of sophomores playing, so hopefully this will continue.”
The Clippers got goals from Daniel Hoffman, Chase Greene, and Robin Ahlers in avenging a 4-1 loss to the Eagles on April 19. The Eagles (13-3) trailed 3-0 but made things tense with goals by A.J. Stewart and Michael Meese in the final 10 minutes.
Yu said his team was better prepared for Jamestown’s talent this time.
“The last two and a half weeks, we did nothing but tactical work,” he said. “We adjusted a little bit to make sure we could compete against Jamestown. They have so many good players, so we needed to prepare ourselves.”
GRAFTON 3, JAMESTOWN 2
Halftime: 1-0 Grafton. Goals: Grafton—Hoffman, Greene, Ahlers. Jamestown—Stewart, Meese.
Jamestown 3, Kings Fork 2
Kylie Devine’s two goals helped the Eagles clinch their second consecutive state tournament appearance. Jamestown (14-2) will host Smithfield Thursday in the 4A final.
The Eagles took a 1-0 lead in the first minute and began putting constant pressure on Kings Fork keeper Jordan Fransee. If not for her work, Jamestown might have added at least two more goals in the first 15 minutes.
Instead, the Eagles didn’t score again until 14 seconds were left in the first half. Jamestown had a 2-0 lead at the break, with both goals by Devine, but Fransee’s five saves were able to keep the Bulldogs’ close.
The Eagles made it 3-0 on a goal by Anya Keurajian less than five minutes into the second half. That’s where it stood until a quirky corner kick resulted in an own goal that put Kings Fork on the board with 6:44 remaining.
With 71 seconds left, the Bulldogs were awarded a free kick off a penalty. From 20 yards away, Ashley Bido drilled it in off the left post to make it 3-2.
But Jamestown was able to hang on.
“I think it kind of got in our heads that we were winning three to zero,” the Eagles’ Kennedy Mills said. “We can’t let that happen anymore from here on out. It wasn’t over yet.”
Jamestown out-shot Kings Fork 20-3. Fransee finished with nine saves.
After an 0-2 start, Jamestown has won 14 consecutive games going into Thursday’s 4A final.
“This year, it’s really special,” Eagles’ senior Keara Cavanaugh said. “I feel like we’re set up to win. We can do it.”
JAMESTOWN 3, KINGS FORK 2
Halftime: Jamestown 2-0. Goals: Kings Fork—Bido. Jamestown—Devine 2, Keurajian. Assists: Jamestown—Allburn, Allison, Mills.