High School Sports

State champs! Dominant May River soccer wins first championship

Watch: May River soccer celebrates first title

May River boys soccer defeated Indian Land for their first state championship on Saturday, May 11, 2019.
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May River boys soccer defeated Indian Land for their first state championship on Saturday, May 11, 2019.

May River might be the new kid on the block but the gauntlet the Sharks ran through during the Class 3A boys’ soccer playoffs is proof they’re here to stay.

The Sharks capped a dominating playoff run with a 6-2 victory over Indian Land on Saturday afternoon at Itmo’s W.C. Hawkins Stadium. It’s the first state title in the short three-year history of the school but it likely won’t be the last.

“We don’t plan on making this a Cinderella run or a one-time thing,” May River coach Misael Garzon said. “We plan on staying for the long haul. When we started this program, our goal was to be one of the best programs in the state. This is definitely a big step. We’ve crossed that echelon to where we can be one of the elite programs in the state.”

Conner Golden scored a hat trick and Joel Fleek added two goals.

May River (20-3-1) completed the five-game playoff run by outscoring its opponents 38-8. That is on par with what they did all season when they averaged 5.6 goals per game while allowing one.

And they did it against a stacked lineup that included perennial powers Academic Magnet and Bishop England. Academic Magnet won the last two Class 2A championships while Bishop England has 17 titles overall, more than any program in state history.

It took two Fleek goals in the final three minutes for the Sharks to defeat the Bishops in the semifinals. That momentum carried over to Saturday.

“This is phenomenal,” Garzon said. “Academic Magnet was a powerhouse program. Bishop England is the most successful program in the state. For us to be able to overcome those adversities, I think mentally helped us for today.”

It didn’t take long for May River to get on the board. Golden scored in the sixth minute on a cross from Fleek. It stayed that way until the half.

That same duo combined for another goal early in the second half. Golden lofted a long pass just in front of the goal and Fleek was able to get a head for the goal.

Golden stretched the lead to 3-0 with his second goal of the match in the 57th minute.

Indian Land finally got on the board with a goal from John Fosu in the 65th minute but the Sharks responded with a flurry of goals to close it. Golden added his third, Alan Gonzalez scored, and Fleek added his second all in a four-minute stretch. Jared Diemer added a late goal for the Warriors.

“It’s all I’ve ever wanted,” Fleek said. “It’s one of my biggest dreams come true. I’m so glad to be a part of it. It’s a blessing.”

Indian Land coach Adam Cole said things just got away from his team in the second half.

“The score definitely didn’t reflect how we played,” he said. “We played hard the whole time. They just had a little burst there. We knew they were fast with an attacking offense. They caught us when our legs were starting to die on us. That score really doesn’t reflect on how close this game was for the majority of it.”