cloudy
Friday August 17th, 2018 11:03AM

Playoff soccer: Johnson battles through Union Grove for 1-0 win, headed to semis

By Morgan Lee Sports Editor

OAKWOOD — It was not easy or pretty, but the Johnson boys soccer team cannot complain about their 1-0 Class 5A quarterfinal defeat of Union Grove on Saturday in Oakwood.

After winning their first two state playoff games by a combined 13-0, the Knights (16-2-2) were hoping to overwhelm yet another foe at Billy Ellis Memorial Stadium, but the Wolverines had other ideas, dropping 11 players behind the ball on multiple occasions and forcing second-ranked Johnson to work even the slightest opening in front of goal.

"They were tough to break down, and their goalkeeper also made a couple nice saves on free kicks -- it was frustrating," Knights coach Brian Shirley said.

Yet the hosts still created a breakthrough midway through the first half, as Marco Vazquez pounced on a pass from Josh Elizalde to score the game's only goal in the 27th minute.

The Wolverines continued to deny Johnson, however, and despite dominating in the stat book -- the Knights piled up 22 shots vs. just 4 for Union Grove -- the hosts were forced to come up with a late defensive stop to ensure their advantage. Johnson goalkeeper Cooper Bowen was up to the challenge, snuffing out a one-on-one counter-attack with just minutes remaining. Bowen finished with just 2 saves.

"After the game the mindset of the guys was a little disappointed that they didn't play their best," Shirley said. "But I think they'll go to sleep realizing they're back in the semifinals, and that, while we have some things to work on, they'll probably come back hungrier."

Johnson will travel for the semifinals in their second FInal Four appearance in three seasons, where they will take on the winner of the Carrollton-Starr's Mill match.

"We have to go down and take care of business. The level of competition will go up significantly in the next round, but we've played well on the road against tough opposition already this season," Shirley said. "Hopefully we'll have a good fanbase make the trip and support us wherever we go."

© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Playoff soccer: Four northeast Georgia programs set to hit the road for semifinals
Four northeast Georgia prep soccer teams are headed to the state semifinals -- and the fact that only one of those four is making its first Final Four speaks volumes about the quality and depth of the area programs making the trek.
8:43AM ( 15 minutes ago )
Kyle Larson has discovered a new passion—golf
Dirt racing has been called Kyle Larson’s “golf game” – a passionate pursuit away from the high visibility of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series racing.
6:00AM ( 2 hours ago )
Atlanta United defeats Chicago Fire 2-1, extends unbeaten streak to 8
Atlanta United defeated Chicago Fire 2-1 Saturday night at Toyota Park behind a pair of second-half goals from Ezequiel Barco and Josef Martinez. It was Martinez’s seventh goal of the season, which leads all of MLS, while Barco scored the first goal of his Atlanta career.
1:21AM ( 7 hours ago )
Sports
Playoff soccer: Gainesville boys respond to knock out Richmond Hill, claim semifinal berth
If Wednesday's state playoff contest provided questions for the Gainesville High boys soccer team, then Saturday's quarterfinal proved the perfect response.
5:36PM ( 15 hours ago )
Playoff soccer: Missed opportunities doom Vikings in quarterfinal loss
Despite five freshmen starters, the East Hall boys soccer team stood just 80 minutes from a third consecutive Final Four appearance. A more opportunistic Windsor Forest squad had its own plans, however...
4:29PM ( 16 hours ago )
Playoff soccer: Branch girls reach semis; 4 boys teams looking for Final 4 spots
The Flowery Branch girls pushed their way back into the state semifinals on Friday, while the White County and Jackson County girls before ultimately falling in the quarterfinals.
10:15AM ( 22 hours ago )
High School Sports
Playoff soccer: Four northeast Georgia programs set to hit the road for semifinals
Four northeast Georgia prep soccer teams are headed to the state semifinals -- and the fact that only one of those four is making its first Final Four speaks volumes about the quality and depth of the area programs making the trek.
8:43AM ( 15 minutes ago )
Playoff soccer: Chestatee too big for quarterfinals, heads to first ever semifinal
Prior to Saturday's historic kickoff, Chestatee boys soccer coach Michael Herrin asked his team one question...
10:49PM ( 10 hours ago )
Playoff soccer: Gainesville boys respond to knock out Richmond Hill, claim semifinal berth
If Wednesday's state playoff contest provided questions for the Gainesville High boys soccer team, then Saturday's quarterfinal proved the perfect response.
5:36PM ( 15 hours ago )
Playoff soccer: Missed opportunities doom Vikings in quarterfinal loss
Despite five freshmen starters, the East Hall boys soccer team stood just 80 minutes from a third consecutive Final Four appearance. A more opportunistic Windsor Forest squad had its own plans, however...
4:29PM ( 16 hours ago )
Playoff soccer: Branch girls reach semis; 4 boys teams looking for Final 4 spots
The Flowery Branch girls pushed their way back into the state semifinals on Friday, while the White County and Jackson County girls before ultimately falling in the quarterfinals.
By AccessWDUN Staff
10:15AM ( 22 hours ago )