Beaufort Academy boys soccer wins fourth consecutive state championship
CHARLESTON — After watching their peers from the girls team take home a state championship hours earlier, the Beaufort Academy boys prevailed Friday night at Porter-Gaud with a 2-1 overtime victory against Palmetto Christian Academy.
That makes four consecutive SCISA state titles for the Eagles and coach Bill Dalton, who said this one may have been the sweetest.
“This team is full of freshmen and guys who haven’t really played any soccer,” he said. “Kevin (Williams) is a basketball player. Edward (McCormick) is a football player.
“This was probably the sweetest one in a way because we only had two guys on the field who started in any way from last year’s championship. It was pretty much an entirely new team.”
It was McCormick who finally scored the game’s first goal with seven minutes left in the first of two 10-minute overtime periods after beating a defenseman through the middle.
“In the first overtime, the team was down. We had a bunch of shots we couldn’t capitalize on,” McCormick said. “And then when I scored, it felt like everything we had worked for all season finally made sense.
“It finally made sense why we spent all that extra time practicing and running, so we could win it all in the states.”
Captain Thomas Holladay scored again in the final seconds of the first overtime to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead.
Palmetto Christian made things interesting by scoring after a scrum for the ball in the box with six minutes left in the second period. Chad Shimakonis put it in the goal with a header, but Beaufort Academy’s defense held on for the win.
Dalton said he thinks his team’s MVP this season was keeper David Mathai. The sophomore showed up in a big way again Friday, playing hobbled with a leg injury.
“David is an excellent player and he was injured. We played the past two games with a backup goalkeeper,” Dalton said. “So it was big getting him back. He made a couple huge saves that maybe didn’t seem as huge at the time.”
Palmetto Christian played most of the second half a man down after a player initiated a fistfight with Beaufort Academy.
The Eagles got the job done without senior captain and vocal leader Ryan Muniz, who is committed to Mary Washington. Muniz was hit with a red card for shoving a player earlier in the playoffs after a verbal exchange against Christian Academy.
Muniz was suspended for the championship after Beaufort Academy lost an appeal of the decision. Athletic director Neal McCarty appealed that the Christian Academy player made statements about Muniz and a member of his family that crossed the line, but the rules board stood by its decision.
“Coach told us right when we found out that we need to play with a chip on our shoulders,” McCormick said. “Palmetto Christian already is because we beat them twice in the year. But now we have something to play for. It made me motivated and it made me feel like I needed to step up and be a captain.”
Muniz served as an extension of the coaching staff Friday.
“Ryan was there on the sideline, which was big for the guys,” Dalton said. “I think Thomas Holladay stepped up and controlled the middle (in place of Muniz).”
Beaufort Academy will return an extremely young team next year in its quest for a fifth consecutive crown.