Montgomery Academy completed its latest order of postseason business by beating Brewbaker Tech 3-1 on Tuesday in the AHSAA Class 1A-4A playoffs at McLemore Field.
Grayson Anzalone, Hyun Shin and Michael Miaoulis each scored in leading the Eagles (8-12-1) past the Rams to advance to Saturday’s quarterfinal game against UMS-Wright in Mobile.
“This being my senior year, this means a lot,” said Anzalone, a senior who scored the game’s opening goal to give Montgomery Academy a 1-0 halftime lead. “We’ve been working really hard.
“This one is really important to get the Montgomery championship. Now we can move out, go to Mobile. Third round. See how we can do from there.”
UMS-Wright (15-5-1) beat Bayside Academy, 2-1 to advance.
As for Brew Tech (12-6-2), it only managed to scratch the scoreboard once on 24 shots on goal and gave up two goals on breakdowns to fall behind 2-0.
“Our finishing clearly wasn’t up to our usual standard,” Rams coach Michael Baugh said. “Bottom line, the way we defended? Defense has been our strength all year, and yet we gifted them two goals, one on a bad back pass and one on a goal keeper error.
“When you get to the playoffs, mistakes like that are punished. You’re going to give them a two-goal start? You’re going to be in trouble.”
Shin, a junior, scored the eventual game-winning goal at the 35-minute mark of the second half to put Montgomery Academy ahead, 2-0. Shin capitalized off Rams keeper Damien Bynum’s mishandling a shot attempt and scored off the deflection.
“If you work hard, you get lucky,” Montgomery Academy coach Wilfredo Navidad said. “I say lucky. It’s not luck. It pays off. It turns out looking like that. … What caused that ball to drop? It was somebody running when maybe he shouldn’t have run, but because he ran there, it caused somebody to make an error.”
Down 2-0, Brew Tech was visibly frustrated, but its players didn’t fade out.
Staying in attack mode, the Rams forced a penalty kick Zachary McCaa converted into a goal, ironically, after Eagles senior keeper Sterling Anderson allowed McCaa’s first shot attempt to roll back into play.
“They got that momentum off that penalty kick, which of course they should never get,” Eagles senior midfielder Neill McCorvey said.
Anderson had hurt his knee in the first half, but gutted it out as the Eagles denied Brew Tech several attempts to tie the game with the final one coming in the last minute.
“I couldn’t let me team down,” Anderson said.
After Brew Tech’s final push to knot the game went awry, Montgomery Academy got an open-field opportunity that Miaoulis finished with a goal as time expired.
“At first, I playing defense because it was 2-1,” said Miaoulis, who is a junior. “I didn’t want them to score, but our team cleared it. Ted Park made a great pass, and I was open. Hit it right at the goal, and the goalie missed it.”
With both teams aware their season was at stake, the game became very intense late in the second half. The Rams ramped up their energy, but that may have worked against them.
“They were rushing their passes,” Baugh said. “They were trying to force the ball in there when there wasn’t an opportunity for a play to be made.”