Riverdale soccer wins region crown in shootout

Riverdale soccer wins region crown in shootout

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Riverdale soccer wins region crown in shootout

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The Riverdale soccer team pulled out a third straight late-game victory to keep its postseason run perfect Thursday night.

The Warriors scored an equalizing goal with 15 minutes to play in regulation and then beat host Columbia 2-1, 4-3 in a shootout of the Region 4-AAA championship to earn a home game in Saturday’s Class AAA sectionals.

Riverdale will host East Hamilton, which lost 3-1 to Cookeville in the Region 3-AAA championship, at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Tomahawk Stadium with a berth in the Class AAA state tournament on the line.

“Especially in the second half, I thought we were more aggressive to the ball,” Riverdale coach Ali Arman said about Thursday’s win. “I thought we created a few more chances. We were more aggressive to the 50-50 balls.”

The game ended at 1-1 in regulation. Both goals were scored in the second half. Columbia’s came with around the 60th minute.

Five minutes late, Troy Gravatt scored the Warriors’ game-tying goal late in regulation before Riverdale goalie Kirkland Manglogiannis stopped two Lions’ shots in the shootout to preserve the victory.

“It was huge,” Arman said of Manglogiannis’ saves. “It’s a 70 percent chance, they say, that the kicker is supposed to make it. Saving that first one to set the tone was big.”

Kyle Bennet, Gravatt, Nick Westerdale and Christian Fuentes made Riverdale’s four penalty kicks in the shootout.

The shootout win came a week after Riverdale beat Blackman in a shootout in the District 7-AAA championship.

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