|Radford Bound! (photos by Carl Lukat/Loudoun Times-Mirror)|
Special to Viva Loudoun
Leesburg (June 6, 2012) - Just three days after claiming their first-ever region championship, the Tuscarora High School's boys soccer team conquered another of its lofty goals June 5. Junior Angel Ceron-Garcia netted a pair of early goals and freshman Sergio Resendiz tacked on two insurance goals as the host Huskies thumped Region I runner-up Tabb, 4-0, in the Virginia AA state quarterfinals.
The state tournament victory was the first for any athletic program at Tuscarora, a second-year school in Leesburg. The Huskies - who lost in the 2011 state quarterfinals on the road - improved to 20-2-2 in their second season, including a 7-0 mark in postseason play.
"It's a huge accomplishment for our school," Tuscarora coach Dave Gryder said before vocing his appreciation of the Huskies' boisterous home crowd. "With the crowd we had, it definitely brought the school together and definitely supported us."
Tuscarora will make its first trip to Radford University - the site of the state semifinals and final - just two wins shy of its ultimate goal. The Huskies will face state powerhouse Blacksburg (21-1) in the semifinals June 8 at 2 p.m.
The Huskies earned that opportunity with a complete performance against Tabb. Ceron-Garcia, recently selected as the Region II Player of the Year, wasted little time in showing off his skill set to the visiting Tigers. Ceron-Garcia found the back of the net twice in the first 10 minutes of play to the delight of the Husky student section.
"We came out with confidence," Gryder said. "Being at home, we wanted to get on them early considering they had a four-hour bus ride or so. As we say in each game, the first 10 to 20 minutes are key to setting the tone. Scoring early was beautiful. And those shots that we scored tonight were exceptionally made."
While play evened out somewhat during the remainder of the first half, the Huskies dominated possession throughout the second half leading to Resendiz's two goals.
Tuscarora junior goalie Adam Kight recorded his 15th shutout of the season with the aid of the Huskies' backline of juniors Ben Ogedegbe, Preston Phillips, Myron Hernandez and Miles Davis. Tabb junior striker Reilly Maw (35 goals) was held in check.
"They are playing well as a group and not giving up a lot of good opportunities," Gryder said. "That keeps you in games and gives your offense more opportunity."
The Huskies will need another solid effort Friday to compete with 11-time state champion Blacksburg, an 8-0 winner over E.C. Glass in Tuesday's quarterfinals.
While Tuscarora will meet Blacksburg for the first time, Gryder is well aware of the Bruins' program. Gryder guided his former team Potomac Falls to a pair of state final appearances, both against Blacksburg. The Panthers defeated the Bruins for the 2006 state championship and lost 2-1 in overtime to Blacksburg in the 2009 final.
"The goal every year is to play for the state championship," Gryder said. "Really, there is only one winner at the end of the year. We are peaking at the right time and playing very well."
Read more of Carl "Golden Goal" Lukat's sports coverage at www.loudountimes.com.