Soccer Bearcats win 6-4, advance

Published 12:39 pm Friday, April 20, 2012

Emiliano Rivera attempts to dribble around a defender.

Late goals by Daniel Provence, Louis Mejia and Emilio Hernandez powered Coach Jamie Ard’s Region 1-AAAA South Sub-Region champion Bainbridge High School Bearcats soccer team to a 6-4 Tuesday home region tournament victory.

They defeated the Northside-Columbus High School Patriots, the No. 4 team in Region 1-AAAA North, at Centennial Field. The win, which improved the Bearcats’ record to 13-3, also clinched Bainbridge’s spot in the Class AAAA playoffs, which begin May 1.

The Bearcats are the first Bainbridge High School soccer team to win as many as 13 games, Ard said.

Friday, they hosted Columbus’s Hardaway High School Golden Hawks at Centennial Field in the second round of the Region 1-AAAA tournament. That game was not completed by press time.

Hardaway reached the second round by shutting out Thomas County Central, 4-0. They scored all four goals in the first 18 minutes.

Emilio Hernandez, left, and Emiliano Rivera, drive into their opponents' territory.

With his team trailing the Patriots 4-3 in the second half Tuesday against Northside, Provence took a centered ball from Hernandez and powered it into the net to tie it up 4-4 in the 74th minute.

In the 75th minute, Mejia converted a penalty kick, following a foul of Bainbridge’s Carlos Beccera in the penalty area, to give the Bearcats a 5-4 lead. Hernandez added an insurance goal after taking a pass from Emiliano Rivera in the 77th minute.

Bainbridge jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game.

Becerra put the Bearcats up 1-0 in the first minute, when he took a pass from Mejia and lofted it over the Patriots’ goalkeeper, who was playing a little far off of his line.

Becerra also scored the second goal on a similar play. He took another pass from Mejia and lofted another shot over the goalkeeper’s head and into the net to make it 2-0.

In the eighth minute, Hernandez took a pass from Provence and shot the ball past the goalkeeper to conclude the early 3-0 run.

The Patriots bounced back with a 4-0 on run to go up 4-3. They scored in the 16th, 26th, 58th and 73rd minutes.

Ard described Tuesday’s win over the Patriots as a monumental one for his program.

“I don’t care what the record of the other team is or what seed they are,” he said. “If they come from Columbus or Warner Robins and they play soccer, they are going to be pretty good. The competition up there is just so tough in those areas of Georgia.

“For us to beat a team from either of these cities to make the playoffs is something to be proud of .”