Thursday June 20th, 2024 2:55AM

Soccer: Johnson sweeps Chestatee in key 8-4A matchups

By Jeff Hart | Video by Seth Chapman

GAINESVILLE, Ga. — Chestatee knew a fast start was a must against No. 1 Johnson in their Region 8-4A showdown at the Lynn Cottrell Complex on Tuesday.

And the fourth-ranked War Eagles did everything right for the first six minutes, getting four quality shots against a Knights defense that had not allowed a goal in seven straight games.

But alas, senior Johnson keeper Kristian Hernandez was stellar, thwarting Chestatee at every turn and giving his offense time to eventually pull away for a 3-0 win.

“Chestatee came out ready to play and created some opportunities early on, but thankfully Kristian was there to make some good saves,” Johnson coach Frank Zamora said.

Hernandez made two saves, including an incredible kick save on a shot from less than 5 yards by Nick Felix, in the opening 6 minutes as the Chestatee offense came out firing.

Felix pressured the Knights’ defense with three shots in the opening minutes. But Iori Vazquez had the first chance for Chestatee with a run into the box that a Johnson defender deflected just enough to allow Hernandez to make the save.

Felix just missed high in the 4th minute, and his short blast two minutes later resulted in a diving kick save by Hernandez to keep it scoreless. From there, the Johnson offense began to take control.

It was David Diaz’s turn in goal for Chestatee as the Johnson offense found some traction over the final 10 minutes. Diaz made a diving save off a Jorge Sandoval shot from 20 yards in the 32nd minute. Diaz denied Ramon Aguilar’s left-footed flick inside 3-yards in the 36th minute.

But Aguilar ended the scoreless drought with a shot past Diaz off a beautiful feed from Juliann Peimentel in the 38th minute for a 1-0 lead Johnson took into halftime.

“That goal by Ramon gave us the confidence we needed moving into the second half,” Zamora said.

Chestatee (10-3, 6-2 Region 8-4A) had two early chances in the second half, but shots by Javi Rebollar and Yahir Galvez sailed high and then wide. From there, Johnson (11-0, 5-0 Region 8-4A) controlled much of the action in the second half.

“David played his tail off tonight and made some tremendous saves,” Chestatee coach Mike Herrin said. “Johnson does what they do, and they earned those goals. But if we could have gotten one or even two of those shots to go in, it’s a different game. 

“We felt we could play with them, and the score is what will be reported, but I felt it was a much closer match than that.”

In the second half, Diaz again denied the Knights, stopping a Christian Robles penalty kick in the 62nd minute. But less than 30 seconds later Justin Silva was able to gather a loose ball and make it 2-0 with a beautiful left-foot blast from 20 yards that found its way past Diaz. Pimentel added a goal of his own in the 70th minute off a pass from Josue Mendoza for the final score.

Hernandez finished with 9 saves for Johnson, while Diaz had 11 saves for the War Eagles, including the one on the PK.


JOHNSON GIRLS 7,
CHESTATEE 0

The Lady Knights ran their unbeaten streak to 8 and also remained unbeaten in Region 8-4A play with their second consecutive shutout and fifth straight road win.

Johnson got four goals from Liz Rivera and one each from Nancy Torres, Skyler Robinson, and Adi Ramirez.

Lottie Landers got the win in goal as the Lady Knights' defense did not surrender a shot on goal.

Next up for Johnson (7-2-1, 5-0 Region 8-4A) will be a huge contest against No. 2 Cherokee Bluff on Friday at The Dungeon.

Chestatee (2-11, 0-8 Region 8-4A) will play host to East Hall on Friday.

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