Johnson High midfielder Alberto Olvera had a definite plan of attack on his free kick in overtime Wednesday night. It made the difference for the Knights as they walked out of War Eagles Stadium with a 2-1 win against Chestatee in the Northeast Georgia Mountain Cup.
Olvera used a little deception to earn his first goal of the season, approaching the ball as if he would strike it left footed. Chestatee’s goalie responded by guarding the back of the net. Then, Olvera followed through with his right foot, catching the War Eagles’s goalkeeper off guard and stuck the ball in the side of the net for what turned out to be the game-winning goal.
"Alberto stepped up huge for us tonight at the best time possible," Johnson coach Brian Shirley said. "He’s put in the time trying to get better and came through when we needed it."
"That was a great kick," Chestatee coach Michael Herrin said. "It was great deception on his part."
With the win, the eighth-ranked Knights (10-3) will play West Hall for the Mountains Cup title at 8 p.m. Friday at Chestatee. Chestatee (6-8) faces Riverside Military at 6 p.m. Friday in the third-place game.
Olvera’s overtime goal tipped the balance in Johnson’s favor, even though the War Eagles had one final shot on goal in the final seconds of overtime. All night, both squads had chances to put goals on the board but were combated by impressive defensive responses.
Chestatee had several golden opportunities to put the game away in regulation. In the 68th minute, the War Eagles had a goal attempt that sailed wide of the net.
Then with 10 minutes left to play, Chestatee had two follow-ups to a corner kick. The first bounced off the corner of the goal and the second of the top of the cross bar.
"We had two or three chances to put the game away at the end," Herrin said. "This game was just a matter of which team flinched first."
Both goals in regulation came midway through the first half. Chestatee senior midfielder Daniel Ruiz scored the game’s first goal on an assist from Alejandro Gonzalez in the 26th minute. That strike for the War Eagles came just seconds after Johnson’s Juan Morfin shot missed wide of the goal by less than a foot.
The Knights tied the game at 1 two minutes later on a shot by Ruben Castro that eluded a defender and curled around the goalie into the net.
Once the score was tied, both defenses kept the game knotted all the way into overtime. Chestatee’s Emmanuel Ibarra nearly scored in the final minutes of the first half but the ball sailed off the goal posts.
Chestatee goalie Anthony Ward also did his part defensively with several saves with Johnson pressing offensively.
Once in overtime, the War Eagles’ best scoring opportunity came on a corner kick, which was turned away by the Knights’ defense. Johnson found a way to get back in control offensively in time for Olvera’s game-winning goal.
"We knew Chestatee was going to come out prepared for this game," Shirley added. "Coach Herrin always has his team ready to play."
West Hall boys 7, Apalachee 0
The Spartans continued to roll through the Mountains Cup with a shutout victory Wednesday night at Chestatee High.
Class AAA’s 10th-ranked West Hall (11-3) had seven different players find the back of the net, led by Juan Arbelaez, who scored once and added three assists.
Gerson Mejia, Rudy Vazquez, Chandler Ligas, Alex Munoz, Israel Del Toro and Chris Lewis also recorded goals. Jamie King made seven saves to record the shutout for the Spartans.
West Hall has now outscored its opponents 14-1 in the tournament.
West Hall girls 2, Buford 0
The Lady Spartans came alive after a scoreless first half with two goals in the second half for a Mountains Cup tournament win Wednesday at Allen Creek Soccer Complex.
Sara Gibson scored the first goal of the game midway through the second half, volleying a goal from outside the penalty area to give West Hall (9-5) the lead.
The Lady Spartans secured the win later in the second half when Brittany Farmer grabbed a rebound from Tania Perez’s penalty kick and buried it for a two goal lead.
Alex Smith recorded the shutout in goal for West Hall, which will play in the tournament finals against Chestatee at 8 p.m. Friday at Allen Creek. Buford faces Habersham Central at 4 p.m. Friday at Allen Creek in the consolation game.