MURFREESBORO – Evangelical Christian School struck in a flurry in the first half of the Division II-A state soccer championship and for just the second time this season, Christ Presbyterian Academy couldn’t stop it or recover.
ECS captured the school’s first boys’ soccer title since 2011 with a 3-0 win against CPA in a matchup of two of the top teams in the state. The Warriors ended the season unbeaten with a 21-0-3 mark.
Championship Soccer Photo Gallery – Christ Presbyterian Academy vs. ECS, Division II-A
The Evangelical Christian School posted a 3-0 win over Christ Presbyterian Academy in the Division II-A boys soccer championship on Thursday, May 24, 2019 at the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex in Murfreesboro.
The Lions opened the season with a 3-0 loss and ended with a 3-0 loss. They won 20 consecutive games in between the two setbacks.
“Like I told the guys, you know, if you judge a program’s success just on the last team that wins, then there’s only one successful team in the state and I think that’s a lie,” CPA coach Tom Gerlach said.
Gerlach said his team found success even with the loss because the legacy they left.
“These guys made it to the finals and I know in their hearts they wanted to win it, but this group of seniors has really bought into what we’re about, which is love God first, love the brother second, love the game third,” Gerlach said.
CPA’s veteran team featured a dozen seniors.
“We never gave up and yeah, of course, there's a lot of tears, these guys are competitors,” Gerlach continued. “It's not one of those lucky things to end up in the state finals. These guys earned it and you know, they represented themselves really well.”
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The Warriors, who were coming off a 4-1 win against Battle Ground Academy in the semifinals Wednesday, strung together all three goals Thursday in a roughly six-minute span late in the first half.
Kuku Kumtor opened the flood gates by working his way past a defender on the left side of the box and firing a rocket into the back of the net in the 32nd. CPA senior keeper Brown Myers had the ball brush his fingertips diving to his left in an effort to make the stop.
Less than two minutes later, Evan Stookey out-jumped everyone for a header following a corner kick to make it 2-0. Branden Rogers floated a ball to Brandon Brackett in the 38th and Brackett found a seam and netted the third goal.
“We’ve only allowed … I think nine goals in the season,” Gerlach said. “It's unfortunate that it happened in the finals, but our season could have been over a lot earlier.”
Myers was under pressure most of the night and did make eight saves, including several spectacular stops. In the 21st, he denied ECS on a long free kick flicked toward the crossbar from a crowd. The senior keeper leaped and batted the ball away with one hand to save the goal. In the 71st, Brackett had an opportunity from just 12 yards out squared up with the goal, but Myers read the kick and dove to stop the right-footed attempt.
“Myers played out of his mind,” Gerlach said. “He's our goalkeeper and he makes superhuman saves.”
ECS out-shot CPA 18-8, including 11-3 in the first half. The Warriors also held a 12-3 advantage on corner kicks.
Baker Avinger had two shots on goal for CPA and Harrison Rody added another.
The Lions advanced with a 1-0 win over Lausanne in the semifinals. The Lynx tied ECS 1-1 to end the regular season on May 7. The three goals allowed mirrored the CPA season opener – a 3-0 loss at Montgomery Bell Academy on March 11. The Big Red finished runners-up in DII-AA earlier Thursday.