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Late Guzman goal lifts HVA to 1st-ever region final, 1st-ever win versus Ads

Dalton Guzman's goal broke two large tracts of ground for Hardin Valley Academy's suddenly booming boys soccer program.

“We're just glad to get past where we were last year, pick up where we left off,” said Guzman, junior forward, who took a long goal kick from HVA keeper Joey Hinshaw and, with some nifty maneuvering around Farragut defenders for about 20 yards, charged upfield and blasted home a huge tally.

Guzman's goal from about 15 yards out came with 2:48 to play and lifted the Hawks past FHS 2-1 in Region 2-AAA semifinal action Tuesday night, May 17, at HVA.

“I got a good ball, I beat the first guy and I saw the goal,” said Guzman, whose team stays unbeaten and improves to 14-0-5. The Hawks will host District 4-AAA tourney champ Knoxville Catholic starting at 7 p.m., tonight, Thursday, May 19, in the region title game.

Advancing to the region finals for the first time in HVA's three-year history, Tuesday's win also was the first ever versus rival Farragut.

“It's huge for us, we had a big [region semifinal loss] to Bearden in overtime,” said Nick Skoda, senior forward and the team's leading scorer who had the other HVA tally.

“It's a huge confidence builder.”

Michael McLean, Hawks head coach, spoke of “the great tradition of Farragut,” adding the Admirals “played a great game.”

“It could have gone either way.”

McLean said he “always knew Dalton was going to do something special this year, and he finally had a bit of magic.”

The HVA boss also praised defender Garrett Hay, named District 3-AAA “Defender of the Year, and he proved it tonight.”

“And Devon Cox, center-mid[fielder], he's been consistent all year.”

A majority of first-half play was on Farragut's offensive end, perhaps reflecting a final 17-14 Admirals edge in shots-on-goal according to collaboration of both team's scorekeepers, FHS head coach Wallie Culbreth said.

“Sometimes you have a good game, and it doesn't reflect in the scoreboard,” Culbreth added. “That's what happened to us tonight. We just didn't put the ball in the net. … I was disappointed in some of our shots that we should have finished.”

Individually, “I think Carlos Garcia played a good game,” Culbreth said about his senior captain midfielder who scored the Admirals only goal.

“And Tyler Rhone did a good job,” Culbreth added about his junior defender whose job it was to shadow Skoda. “He held Nick Skoda 99 percent of the game, and Skoda's hard to guard.”

Skoda apparently put the Hawks up 1-0 at the 4:20 mark of the first half, breaking open on a fast break and punching home a goal. But the play was ruled offsides.

But for all of Skoda's career goals, and scores of near misses, the senior star won't argue with getting lucky about 10 minutes into the second half.

Skoda's high arching shot toward the FHS net fell through the goalkeeper's hands at the mouth of the goal, making it 1-0 Hawks with 30:05 to play.

“A goal's a goal,” Skoda said.

But it took just less than seven minutes for Garcia and the Admirals to tie.

Garcia took a nice touch pass from Scott Dresen just inside the upper left corner of the box. Garcia's shot, about 15 yards out at a 45-degree angle, beat Hinshaw with 23:25 to play.

Farragut’s season ends with an 11-6-3 record.


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