Tuesday October 6th, 2015 4:22PM

Soccer: North Hall boys maraud their way past Islands, into state semifinals

By Morgan Lee Sports Editor
McIntosh 6, Gainesville 1

Johnson 2, Cairo 1

West Hall 6, Peach County 0
North Hall 5, Islands 3

Southeast Whitfield at Johnson

Class AAA
West Hall at Oconee County
North Hall at St. Pius
Related Articles
SAVANNAH -- The North Hall boys soccer team is putting together the kind of season that equals and breaks records -- and the Trojans did both on Saturday.

North Hall traveled to Savannah and played its way into the Class AAA semifinals courtesy a 5-3 defeat of Islands High, the outcome pushing the Trojans into the final four for the first time in almost 20 years.

"They believe; they know they can beat anybody in the state on any given night," North Hall coach Jonathan Lillie said. "They're very excited, and they're ready for Tuesday."

The win moved the Trojans into Tuesday's semifinal showdown at St. Pius -- a team that just escaped Region 7-AAA foe Dawson County in the second round via a marathon penalty shootout.

"There's no doubt our region (7-AAA) is the best in the state, and the results bear that out," said Lillie, whose team joins fellow 7-AAA team West Hall in the semifinals (the Spartans are on the other side of the bracket and will face Oconee County in Tuesday's other Class AAA semifinal). "We may be a four seed, but the guys know that they're not a real four seed because of how hard our region is."

Saturday's victory -- North Hall's third on the road this postseason -- also saw striker Junior Avalos bag a hat trick that helped him add to his tally as the program's all-time leading goal-scorer.

Avalos, a junior, scored two goals in the first half to help the Trojans (14-4-1) to a 3-1 lead and then broke a 3-3 deadlock in the second half with his final strike to tally his 45th career goal. Avalos has surpassed former North Hall standout Brian Hall's career tally (who played in the early 1990s).

"The great thing is that we've got 13 guys on this team with at least one goal and one assist; Junior is a great player, but we've got three-four guys with 10-plus goals," Lillie said. "We're a complete team. The guys work hard for each other, and they're unselfish. It all comes down to character for us."

Enrique Casterjon and Jake Stephens also scored in the game, Casterjon's goal making it 3-1 in the first half and Stephens' penalty kick strike making it 5-3 in the second half, sealing the contest with five minutes remaining.

Avalos got things going, scoring twice in the first half to help North Hall to a 3-1 lead -- but Islands (13-6-2) made the most of a consistent wind at its collective back, scoring two goals on long-ball headers to knot the game at 3-3.

North Hall responded with Avalos' third and final goal, as the junior met Abraham Salvador's corner kick to put the visitors ahead for good at 4-3.

Jake Carter helped make sure of the victory, drawing the penalty kick from Islands with five minutes remaining -- an opportunity that Stephens buried.

Carter finished the game with two assists, as did Jairo Barrientos. Avalos also had one assist.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2014 Top 10: Looking back at the top sports stories of the year
It was another year for the record books in 2014, mostly for the right reasons -- state championships, new challenges and new stars taking their turn to shine. But there were also plenty of big stories that reminded us that sports -- like life -- isn
11:55PM ( 9 months ago )
NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedules set for 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - NASCAR announced recently the 2015 schedules for its top developmental regional touring series, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
2:00PM ( 9 months ago )
Lanierland boys final: Johnson makes history with win over Red Elephants <b> (VIDEO) </b>
Ever the aggressor on the court, Johnson
8:55AM ( 9 months ago )
Lanierland boys semifinals: Unbeatens Johnson, Red Elephants roll into finals
Both Gainesville and Johnson powered their way into the Lanierland Tournament finals on Monday. The two undefeated teams will meet Tuesday for the title at 8:30 p.m. at Chestatee.
10:01AM ( 9 months ago )
Lanierland girls semifinals: GHS, Lady Falcons advance to finals <b> (VIDEO) </b>
Flowery Branch and Gainesville each took impressive wins Monday to advance to the Lanierland Tournament finals...
10:00AM ( 9 months ago )
Girls basketball: Lady Tigers advance to Pickens Holiday finals
The Dawson County girls basketball advanced to the finals of the Pickens Holiday Classic after an 81-54 win over Riverwood Monday.
11:48PM ( 9 months ago )
High School Sports
Region title deciders on the line? Could well be the case for Friday
We’re past the halfway point in the season, so it’s no wonder that this week brings with it a handful of contests that could well decide the destiny of a region crown and/or playoff positioning this weekend.
4:40PM ( 17 minutes from now )
Softball: Region tournaments finally back in action after rainouts
The weather has been as big a story as the teams themselves as region tournaments to fill the girls state softball brackets have been postponed twice in the last week due to rain.
12:18PM ( 4 hours ago )
Quinn getting message of starting fast through to Falcons
Coach Dan Quinn has been trying to get the Atlanta Falcons to start games fast...
11:09AM ( 5 hours ago )
Hart says Braves 'will be better' following 67-win finish
The last time the Atlanta Braves finished below 70 wins was 1990, when they were in a rebuilding process based on pitching...
9:59AM ( 6 hours ago )
Georgia adds state-of-the-art cryotherapy chamber
The University of Georgia Athletic Association will give its student-athletes a competitive advantage by offering access to a new state-of-the-art whole body cryotherapy chamber from Atlanta-based Impact Cryotherapy, a national leader in designing and manufacturing whole body cryotherapy systems.
By UGA Sports Communications
8:03AM ( 8 hours ago )