By Tommy Keeler Jr.
Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy's boys soccer team came up a little short in its quest for the state title last weekend, but the Patriots made up for it on Friday.
The Patriots won the National Association of Christian Athletes title with a 3-1 victory over Forest Lake (Fla.). The tournament was held in Dayton, Tenn.
"We were a little disappointed that we didn't win the state tournament, but this is much, much bigger than that," SVCA coach Dustin Wheelock said in a phone interview Friday afternoon. "I'm very proud of the team."
SVCA senior Austin Stover scored two goals in the win over Forest Lake, and was named Offensive MVP of the tournament.
There were 23 teams from all over the country in the tournament, and the Patriots played five matches. In the semifinals, the Patriots beat Covenant School, who won the Virginia Association of Christian Athletics tournament last week. SVCA won that game 4-0 to advance to the finals.
Against Forest Lake (Fla.), junior Kenton Geyer scored on a corner kick in the seventh minute to give the Patriots a 1-0 lead. The score stayed 1-0 until the second half.
In the 50th minute, Stover scored on a penalty kick. Two minutes later, Stover followed up on a missed shot and put it in to give the Patriots a 3-0 lead.
Stover finished the tournament with eight goals.
"Austin has been big for us all year," Wheelock said. "He's relentless. He's been the glue to this team.
"Big-time players score big goals in big games and he definitely did that for us."
Stover was named to the All-Tournament team along with Geyer.
The tournament start out with pool play, with three teams in each pool. The Patriots went 1-1 in pool play, and then was put into the Division 2 bracket where they won three matches to win the title. In terms of school size, Wheelock said that SVCA would be a Division 3 school, but played up in the bracket tournament.
The Patriots finish the season with a 24-7-2 record and had five seniors on the squad.
Wheelock said it couldn't be happier for the team.
"Most of this team has been together for three years now, and they've gone through a lot," Wheelock said. "They've stuck through it, and it's nice to see them be rewarded."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org