Wildcats rally to beat GAC in 2-1 thriller By David Rutz
drutz@neighbornewspapers.com Chandler Gay, assisted Jack Kidd on the game-winning goal Saturday in a 2-1 win over Greater Atlanta Christian for the Class AA state championship.When Westminster escaped a possible 1-0 deficit less than a minute into Saturday’s Class AA soccer state championship game, the team felt it could survive anything.Turns out the Wildcats were right.Some gutsy saves by goalkeeper Andrew Freschi and two second-half goals rallied the Wildcats to a 2-1 victory over Greater Atlanta Christian, giving Westminster its first state championship in boys’ soccer since 2007 after falling in its last two title game appearances, most recently in 2009 to GAC.“It was nice to get back to being a champion again,” said Westminster coach Scott Snyder.Freschi saved a penalty kick after GAC was fouled just 25 seconds into the game, and even after the Spartans took a 1-0 lead later in the action, Westminster knew it could hang in.“That was probably almost as critical as anything else,” Snyder said. “They had a point-blank shot, and our keeper made a great save on it. From there, we built on that.”Josh Bennett drew a foul in the second half, and Tyler Hilliard converted the penalty kick to tie the game at 1. Then, with less than six minutes remaining, Jack Kidd scored the go-ahead goal on an assist from Chandler Gay.The Wildcats were excited but Kidd’s goal wasn’t a game-winner until they outlasted the Spartans to the last whistle at GAC’s home field.“You had to temper it because you’ve got five more minutes,” Snyder said.Freschi and the rest of the defense had to counter three corner kicks and two direct kicks in the furious final minutes to preserve the victory and the championship.“You’d have to give them the edge in terms of holding onto the ball, but we were able to take advantage of our chances better than they were,” Snyder said. “It was really a team win, though.”In the Class A playoffs, Pace Academy fell in the Final Four to Providence Christian, 4-1 on May 11.In girls’ soccer, Lovett fell 2-1 in a hard-fought game with top-ranked Blessed Trinity May 10. After conceding a goal in the opening minute, the Lions (15-4-1) tied it in the 52nd minute when M.C. Battle headed in a corner kick by Allison Bond into the far post. However, BT scored again with 20 minutes left on a deflection and held on to advance to the state championship game, which they won 1-0 Saturday over Greater Atlanta Christian.Westminster fell to Greater Atlanta Christian, 3-1, May 10 in the other semifinal.

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