Soccer: Bengals Rally Past Dorman, Advance to Round 3

Blythewood 2, Dorman 1

BLYTHEWOOD — Blythewood’s soccer squad had kept the pressure on Dorman through the entire first half and most of the second half of their second round 4A playoff game Thursday night.

When Hayden Lucarelli lightly booted the ball into the Bengals’ net with 16 minutes to go, the Cavaliers put the pressure on them for a change.

That reversal of fortune seemed to turn the tide for top-seeded Blythewood. Forward Grayson Barber evened the score at 1-1 with a goal at the 10-minute mark. Then Sebastian Gutierrez added the go-ahead goal five minutes later to seal a 2-1 victory over the third-seed Cavaliers at the Blythewood soccer field.

“We missed so many shots, just unlucky,” Blythewood head coach Peter Wittig said. “One thing we talked about though, was our guys believing in themselves to the point that they made the other team stop in their belief. Dorman did a great job fighting down to the end, but our guys didn’t let down. Those guys were making it happen.”

Blythewood (18-5) will host Mauldin Saturday at 6 p.m.

Dorman finishes the year 17-7.

Cavaliers head coach Josh Eskew said that while Lucarelli’s goal was one of the best efforts his team has made all year, he added that it likely lit a fire under Blythewood.

“They had outplayed us until that point, and so they felt like they deserved a goal too,” Eskew said. “Unfortunately in the back we weren’t able to clear a ball out and they scored, and their second goal was just our lack of clearance.

“That doesn’t take anything away from these guys. They’ve done a great job and they’ve had a great year.”

Almost from the start, Blythewood moved the action to the Dorman side of the field and kept Cavs goalkeeper Sammy Arteaga under fire. Bengals players fired at least eight shots on goal, but most went high or wide.

Arteaga pounced on one shot, but Blythewood’s off-target attack froze the score at 0 going into intermission.

Dorman managed a couple of shots on the Bengals goal early in the second half, but it wasn’t long before Blythewood managed to press into Cavaliers territory again.

The Bengals took nine more shots on goal and was still not able to make the net.

Good fortune struck Dorman midway through the period, as a struggle for possession on the far left corner of the Blythewood side of the field ended up with Dorman’s Eliseo Poxton-Delgado throwing the ball into play from the corner with 16 minutes to go.

Lucarelli took possession, dribbled a bit and sailed a kick into the far right corner of the net.

Over the next six minutes, only Adam Haltiwanger made it close enough to the goal to take a shot. Arteaga landed on the ball for another save, but Dorman’s lead could not hold.

Grayson Barber, who had taken five shots on goal and was denied every time, finally scooted past Dorman’s Cole Graham and booted a kick out of Arteaga’s reach for the game-tying shot.

Barber’s goal cleared the field of Bengals players, as they and the Blythewood bench swarmed the freshman forward, even as time ticked away.

“Once we went down in the game, we knew we had to keep our heads up and not put our heads down,” Barber said. “We got one goal and kept the pressure up, and the next thing you know we got two.”

Five minutes later, Gutierrez would be congratulated in the same fashion for his game-winning goal. Gutierrez got his reward after he slid into a loose ball, took possession of it, jockeyed past a Cavaliers defender, drew Arteaga out of position and kicked it solidly into the back of the net.

“Sebastian has great touches in tight spaces, and that was his kind of goal,” Wittig said. “He’s got 12 or 13 goals this year and they’re all very similar. He’s a scrapper.”

Once Blythewood took the lead, Dorman tried one last time to make something happen, but when Alex Lieber’s high shot landed in the arms of Bengals goalkeeper Liam Murphy, the whistle sounded and Blythewood punched its ticket for the next round of playoffs.

The Lady Bengals, meanwhile, travel to J.L. Mann tonight (May 8), after dropping Riverside 2-0 Wednesday.

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