Conyers It wasn’t meant to be for the Heritage boy’s soccer team. Thanks to a big save by its goalkeeper and four consecutive goals in penalty kicks, South Forsyth out-scored the Patriots 6-5 to win a first round game in the Class AAAA state playoffs Tuesday at Evans Memorial Stadium.
While the visiting War Eagles (11-6-2) move on to next week’s sweet 16, the Region 8-AAAA champion Patriots saw their 13-game unbeaten streak come to an end and finished the season 12-4-3.
After neither team could find the back of the net during regulation and two, five-minute overtime periods, the game went to penalty kicks and that’s where the dramatics began. Both South Forsyth keeper Bjorn Kammaholz and the Patriots’ Alejandro Alvarado made two saves through the first four shots, and after Mauricio Reyes scored for the Patriots, Kyler Kelsey answered with a goal to tie it at 3-3. The teams traded a pair of goals each before Kammaholz made a fantastic save on a shot by Ramon Rodriguez, and Andre Williams beat Alvarado for the game-winner.
“6-5 in the (eighth) penalty kick…it’s just a crappy way to lose,” said Heritage coach Brandon Stewart, who guided the program to its first region title since 2003. “I’m proud of my boys. I couldn’t ask anything more of my boys.”
In a scoreless first half, there was almost as many yellow cards handed out (three) as combined shots on goal (five). The yellows for Heritage, given to Reyes and Chris Raines, the last of which coming when Raines tried to kick the ball out of Kammaholz’s hands after the keeper scooped up a loose ball, came three and a half minutes apart towards the end of the half. South Forsyth’s Vinay Srinivasan picked up a yellow with 1:46 left until halftime. In between, Alvarado made two saves and the Patriots let a big chance slip by when Will Boggus hit the post at the 29:38 mark, Austin Kulp missed a chance off a rebound and Reyes got past the defense with 8:27 left, but his shot was saved by Kammaholz.
“We had our opportunities, keeper just made some saves,” Stewart said.