By Jeff Nations
STEPHENS CITY -- Sherando's Seth Wade hadn't seen an opponent as collectively quick as Park View.
Granted, the Warriors forward is just a freshman and his experience is somewhat limited, but still -- the visiting Patriots were undeniably the faster team in Friday's Conference 21 Boys Soccer Tournament quarterfinal game at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Warriors knew just how to take a bit of pep from their step though, as Sherando struck for two first-half goals and then added two more in the second half to earn a 4-1 victory and advance to next Tuesday's semifinal round against Loudoun County at Woodgrove High School. Game time is set for 7:45 p.m.
"We just tried to put pressure on them early," Sherando coach Patrick Anderson said. "We thought we'd try to use the wind a little bit in the first half."
Sherando's first goal was a prime example of using the available elements to best advantage. Warriors goalkeeper Kevin Riley sent a wind-aided punt soaring downfield and into Park View's penalty area just outside the box. Sherando's Jack Flanagan got to the ball first, darted past a Patriots defender and drew Park View goalie Sam Onyeador out of the box to charge the ball. Onyeador, a 6-foot-3 keeper committed to play at William and Mary next season, couldn't reach Flanagan's well-placed roller as it scooted across the box and into the right corner with 25:47 left in the first half.
"We knew their keeper was good and was probably going to come out a lot," Flanagan said. "Most of my goals this year have been headers. It's good to get a goal off the foot."
Sherando (12-4) wasted little time in adding to that lead, as Andrew Mullan headed in a goal off a corner kick from Andrew Wade just four minutes later.
"Our whole year, we've been making mistakes and it killed us today," Park View coach Arturo Jimenez said. "The two goals in the first half were just mistakes. Sherando is a very good team, and we can't have that."
Down 2-0 at halftime, Park View (8-7-2) began to press forward in earnest. After managing only four shots in the first half, the Patriots suddenly began flooding shots into the box against Riley. Over the final 40 minutes, the junior keeper made seven of his eight saves as Park View fired 18 shots his way in the second half.
It was the Warriors who struck again, though, when Flanagan was taken down in the box to draw a penalty kick. Andrew Wade got the call, and he neatly punched a shot past Onyeador inside the right post to put the Warriors up by a commanding three goals with 28:53 to play.
The Patriots gained new life seven minutes later, when Paul Justiniano redirected a corner kick from teammate Diego Henriquez past Riley for Park View's first goal.
"Once it got to 3-1, they were really pressing and gaining their momentum back a little bit," Anderson said.
Sherando snatched the momentum right back just four minutes later, when Tommy Buono broke loose for a run down the right side of the penalty area and sent a hard cross to the middle. Seth Wade was there at just the right moment to rip a shot past Onyeador.
"I saw space and I ran to it," Seth Wade said. "Tommy hit a good ball and I was able to get it past him."
That goal allowed Anderson to finally relax.
"We told them we needed to get pace on it get it past [Onyeador]," Anderson said. "I guess they finally listened to us."
Park View outshot the Warriors, 22-13. The difference came in the quality of the chances created by the Warriors.
"Sherando was ready for us," Jimenez said. "I think Sherando did a great job of keeping us away from the net."
Contact Sports Editor Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org>