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Providence Christian heads to state championship game

OXFORD — The Providence Christian boys soccer team started strong and stayed strong for most of the game as the Warriors beat Calvary Christian 3-0 in the Georgia Independent Christian Athletic Association semifinal on Monday.

The Warriors (12-5) will host Community Christian for the GICAA state championship at noon on Saturday at the University of West Georgia.

“Last year we got beat in the first round (playoffs) in shootouts,” Warriors head coach Derek Stanley said. “We looked at this year as the year to win it due to our senior leadership. We’re actually there now so hopefully we can bring it home.”

The Knights had Providence’s number in the two meetings this year beating the Warriors 1-0 and 7-5.

The Warriors started the game just as Stanley had planned bringing their top scorer, Jace Roper, up from his midfield position. Roper scored for Providence three minutes into the game for the only score of the first half giving the Warriors the lead.

Providence let a couple of scoring opportunities get away as the striker had the ball but with no one to cross the ball to the Calvary defense was able to converge on the ball to stop play from developing.

Calvary had a few chances to score themselves but junior keeper Sean Carpenter was able use his size and athleticism to keep the ball out of the net.

“We strive to start out strong. We had a little lapse late in the first half and they definitely had some chances,” Stanley said. “(Carpenter) kept us in it. We had a couple of lapses in the back but Sean has been big for us all season.”

Stanley made some adjustments at halftime allowing his team to put more pressure on the Calvary defense on its heel. They finally succumbed to the pressure six minutes into the second half on high kick by Peter Waddy making it 2-0.

Providence scored again a few minutes later with Roper’s second goal of the game off an assist by Daniel Hatch. Even though the Warriors had a three-goal lead, Stanley was not confident of a win at that point.

“You never know, a couple of lapses and they’re right back into it. I made some adjustments and and we finished it off in the second half,” he said. “I thought overall we played very well.”